Suns Strokes: Phoenix blows out shorthanded Spurs in front of sellout crowd
Perhaps Lon Babby should celebrate his birthday more often.
The Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations asked for and received a win on his 63rd birthday. The victory was an impressive one, a 106-85 decision over San Antonio — the Western Conference’s second-best team, and one that had beaten the Suns in its last four trips to Phoenix.
This visit ended early, however.
The Suns scored 19 unanswered points — part of a 26-3 second quarter run to turn a six-point deficit into a 17-point advantage — and went up 45-28 with 3:06 remaining in the first half.
Ish Smith had 10 of his career-high 15 points, while Marcus Morris added seven of his 13 in the quarter, which saw the Suns outscore the Spurs 28-12. It was both an opponent’s season-low and Spurs season-low for points scored in the second quarter.
For the second straight game, Markieff Morris led the Suns in scoring, finishing with a game-high 21 points. He was one of six Suns players in double figures, the team’s second straight game with such a contribution.
The Suns, in front of their first sellout crowd of the season, won their third straight.
Smith filled up the stat sheet in the second quarter with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. He finished with a career-high-tying seven rebounds.
Archie Goodwin scored all nine of his points in the second half; they were his first points scored since Feb. 1 against Charlotte and his second-best total of the season.
Markieff Morris posted his 11th game with 20 or more points and has scored in double figures in four straight and 16 of 17 games.
Marcus Morris has scored in double figures in three straight and eight of 10 games.
The Suns’ 21-point win was their third-largest margin of victory of the season.
Gerald Green missed his first five — and six of his first seven — shots. He missed nine of his 14 total attempts in finishing with 13 points.
The Suns managed just 19 first quarter points, and allowed 23 to San Antonio. It was Phoenix’s first sub-20-point quarter since an 18-point fourth period at Houston on Feb. 5 — a span of 17 quarters.
The Spurs in the second quarter missed 17 of 20 shots, including 10 in a row at one point, going 6 minutes, 28 seconds of game time between field goals.
The Spurs set or tied season-lows in the following: Field goal percentage, 34.9; three-point percentage 9.5; assists 12; blocks 0; points in a quarter (12 in second quarter); and points in a half (35 in first half).
STAT OF THE GAME
The Suns bench — sixth-best in the league, averaging 36.9 points per game — outscored the Spurs’ NBA-leading reserve unit 60-34. The 60 bench points are Phoenix’s second-highest amount in a game this season — 64 at Denver on Dec. 30.
HE SAID IT
“They had a bad game. They were missing shots. That wasn’t a typical Spurs gam,e so we took advantage of it a little bit,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We had some close losses to them so I think our guys were pretty ready to play.”
HE SAID IT, PART II
“This is a heated rivalry, as you can see with how many people were out there today, which was an amazing crowd,” Goodwin said. “For us to do this in this defensive fashion, it just shows how much better we are getting. We are continuing to do things as a team and trying to win.”
– The Suns had not beaten the Spurs at home since April 13, 2011.
– The Suns had not sold out US Airways Center since April 5, 2013 vs. Golden State.
– Phoenix won for the first time in three games wearing its new orange-sleeved alternate uniforms.
– The Spurs played without both their leading scorer, Tony Parker (Achilles, back, groin, calf), and second-leading rebounder, Kawhi Leonard (hand).
– Ex-Suns player Shannon Brown missed 5-of-6 shot attempts, finishing with four points in his first game in Phoenix since he was traded and subsequently waived by Washington as part of the Marcin Gortat-Emeka Okafor deal.
The Suns play game three of this current four-game home stand, welcoming in the Houston Rockets on Sunday, Feb. 23. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The Suns and Rockets will be meeting for the third and final time this season, with this contest serving as the rubber match. The Suns took the first meeting 97-88 in Houston on Dec. 4 on the second night of a back-to-back. The Rockets won the second game, also in Houston, 122-108 on Feb. 5.