Suns Strokes: Phoenix ends six-game losing streak against Spurs
Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns’ 105-101 overtime win over the Spurs on February 27.
Considering the Suns’ circumstances (playing second game of a back-to-back on the road against the NBA’s best team following an overtime contest), Wednesday night’s four-point win was easily the most impressive in the Lindsey Hunter era.
Wesley Johnson struggled to find his shot most of the night (3-of-9), but the third-year swingman found his touch when the Suns needed him most — hitting a buzzer beater at the end of regulation to force overtime.
In overtime, the Suns won thanks in large part to their defense. San Antonio didn’t hit a field goal in the extra session and was limited to one point.
Goran Dragic recorded more than 10 assists for the fifth time in his last six contests. The Slovenian also added 13 points and took advantage of Tony Parker, who was less than 100 percent.
Jermaine O’Neal has consistently been the 1B to Dragic’s 1A since the All-Star break and that was on display throughout Wednesday’s contest. The 17-year veteran had 22 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a dagger of a shot to beat the shot clock with nine seconds left in overtime.
For as good as O’Neal was against the Spurs, Marcin Gortat was that bad. Gortat has been MIA of late and the trend continued in San Antonio.
While the Polish Hammer suffered from a bout of foul trouble Tuesday against the Timberwolves, he couldn’t blame any whistles for his poor performance at the AT&T Center. Tim Duncan (19 points and 11 rebounds), DeJuan Blair (15 points and eight rebounds) and Tiago Splitter (four points and five rebounds) all took turns having their way with Gortat in the paint.
At the offensive end, Gortat looked lost, more so than any other point in a Suns uniform. He finished with seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.
To combat Gortat’s ineffectiveness, Hunter opted to play O’Neal alongside the Polish center in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
He Said It:
“I just let it go. It felt good coming out and went in. I actually had one before and I missed it, I was thinking about that.” — Wesley Johnson said of his game-tying three-point shot at the end of regulation.
• The win snapped the Spurs’ six-game win streak against the Suns and prevented Phoenix from being swept by San Antonio for the second consecutive season.
• The Suns’ last victory in San Antonio came in May 2010 when the team swept the Spurs in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
• Wednesday’s win also snapped the Spurs’ 18-game home win streak. San Antonio hadn’t lost at home since November 19 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
• Phoenix scored over 100 points for the third time since the start of 2013. The other two occurrences came in road wins at Portland and Sacramento.
The Suns (20-39) return home to host the Atlanta Hawks (33-23) on Friday, March 1. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. MST