Suns Strokes: Green lifts Phoenix past Lakers
Gerald Green blamed himself for the Suns overtime loss Monday at New York.
“I felt like I let my teammates down,” he said of a performance in which he missed 14 of 16 shots in what was the team’s third straight defeat.
Forty-eight hours later, both he and the Suns bounced back big time.
Green scored a season-high 28 points, including 16 in a decisive third quarter that saw the Suns outscore the Lakers by 10 en route to a 121-114 win.
“My teammates do a good job of getting me the ball and still staying aggressive,” he said. “Coach is still telling me to shoot the ball so I’m still going to continue to do that. I just tried to not take as many threes as I normally do.”
Green attempted five threes, hitting two in the Suns’ seven-point victory in front of 16,022 at US Airways Center Wednesday.
Markieff Morris added 24 points, while Channing Frye finished with 20 (10 in the fourth quarter) to help the Suns improve to 3-0 against the Lakers this season.
Morris’ 17 first-half points matched the total number of minutes he played in his past two games. He was benched after eight minutes in Detroit and played just nine minutes before getting ejected in New York.
Goran Dragic made six of seven second half shots (after missing seven of eight attempts in the first half) to finish with 18 points. He grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds and added seven assists, flirting with what would’ve been his second career triple-double.
The Suns won despite zero field goals in the final 3:09. They missed four shots and turned it over once, but held on thanks to Markieff Morris and PJ Tucker going a combined four-of-four from the free throw line.
The Suns missed nine of 10 three-point attempts in the first half (while Kendall Marshall made two-of-four). They finished 4-of-19 (21.1 percent).
Leandro Barbosa (sore right shoulder) did not dress.
STAT(S) OF THE GAME
The Suns scored a season-high 64 points in the paint and matched a season-high with 37 fast break points.
The Suns scored 121 points, their second highest total of the season and their third time scoring at least 120 points. The Suns shot 49 percent on 100 attempts; both the 49 makes and 100 attempts are season-highs.
HE SAID IT
“There’s going to be ups and downs during the season. We usually say good teams don’t lose three in a row, but we’ll say good teams don’t lose four in a row,” Frye said. “It was a tough trip but we’re home now and I think it’s a time for us to really get our grit back in our game.”
Things got chippy, okay, downright ugly between the two Pacific Division rivals 4:30 into the second quarter. Lakers forward Nick Young driving to the basket got fouled hard by Alex Len, sending Young crashing to the floor. He quickly got up and pushed Len. Marcus Morris, coming to the defense of his teammate, pushed back. Young responded, taking a swing and nailed Goran Dragic in the side of the head. After a lengthy review, the officials ejected both Young (a “punching foul”) and Len (flagrant foul two) and T’d up Morris.
Young after the game apologized.
“It was a hard foul and I just reacted. I got caught up in the moment like anyone would,” he said. “What I’m mad about is it was one on five I felt like if somebody would have gotten in the middle it wouldn’t have escalated that much.”
Young then added, “I didn’t try to push Dragic; he’s my guy. I feel bad for that.”
The Suns play game two of this season-long five-game homestand. They host Dallas — the second of three meetings — on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.