Phoenix Suns’ offense emerges following difficult road trip
PHOENIX — The offense had been MIA.
Their shooting touch deserted.
Fastbreak points? Non-existent.
Then the Los Angeles Lakers arrived and all became well once again in Suns land.
OK, maybe it wasn’t that simple.
The Suns, though, took advantage of two things Wednesday when they dropped 121 points — their second-highest total of the season — on their L.A. rivals to end a three-game losing streak: The home court advantage (the Suns are 13-5 at US Airways Center) and the opponent (the Lakers, on their sixth different point guard, have now lost 12 of 13).
“Offensively we scored points, but then again, the Lakers aren’t the greatest defensive team out there,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
“They don’t play good defense,” Goran Dragic added. “We can get everything we wished for in that game.”
The Suns broke out of an offensive funk, shooting 49 percent, their best effort in 12 games and light years ahead of how well, or rather, how poorly they shot (a combined 39.5 percent) on the just completed road trip.
“It’s basketball. The ball is round, so sometimes we’re going to have a good shooting night and sometimes no,” Dragic explained.
In addition, the Suns tied a season-high with 37 fast break points (the league’s No. 1 fast break team averaged 12.2 points while traveling through the polar vortex last week) and set a season-high with 64 points in the paint against the Lakers.
“I thought we did a better job of pushing the ball and getting it inside to our bigs early. That’s what we want to try to do,” Hornacek said following a brief practice Thursday in which Leandro Barbosa did not participate as he continues to recover from a sprained right shoulder.
Unfortunately, the Suns don’t play the Lakers, whom they’ve beaten four straight times dating back to last season, every night.
No, a much tougher challenge awaits Friday when the Dallas Mavericks visit.
Dallas (23-17, percentage points behind the Suns) is coming off a 129-127 road loss in L.A. in which the Clippers overcame a 17-point deficit in the final five minutes. Before then, Dallas had won four of five.
The Suns are 1-0 against the Mavericks this season, winning in Phoenix last month, 123-108. It was a season-high in points thanks to their fourth-best shooting performance (51.2 percent) that included a season-high tying 15 three-pointers. Eric Bledsoe accounted for three threes, scoring a game-high 25 points.
He remains out indefinitely after right knee surgery. The Suns are 6-8 without him.
“I think for us, we’re constantly learning and adapting,” Channing 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.”