If a team scores 30 fewer points than their average in a game, it’s not a great indicator they’ll actually win that game.
Yet somehow, despite undershooting their norm by that much, the Phoenix Suns managed to squeak by the New Orleans Pelicans, 74-72 Thursday night at U.S Airways Center.
The Pelicans happened to score 27 fewer points than their 16th-ranked average, matched their season-low in scoring, and were without star Anthony Davis, who contributes an average of 24 points per game.
The Suns were missing factor players in Brandon Knight and Alex Len, and so the two limbless teams battled clunkily the whole night.
Despite Markieff Moriss’ 17 points and Brandan Wright’s 16, the Suns shot just 34.9 percent from the field and connected on only two three-point attempts.
In fact, things hit bottom in a messy third quarter when Phoenix went just 4-of-21 from the field and had 12 total points.
New Orleans hardly fared better, hitting only 19 third-quarter points.
And in the fourth, Phoenix scored seven second-chance points and Morris hit a crucial jumper with under a minute to play to put the Suns just far enough ahead to seal it.
Here’s how the Suns snuck past the Pelicans, by the numbers:
Phoenix’s 74 points matched a franchise scoring low in a win.
The Suns hit just 29 out of 83 attempts — 34.9 percent from the field.
The Pelicans struggled right there with them, hitting just 31-of-83 attempts for 37.3 percent shooting from the field.
Phoenix hit two 3-pointers. Total.
The Suns heaved ’em up from behind the arc 22 times, making just 9 percent of their attempts.
While his twin had a solid night, Marcus Morris struggled to connect. He hit one shot in 11 attempts and went 0-of-7 from three. He also missed both his free-throw attempts.
Yet Morris pulled down 13 rebounds and doled out four assists in the effort.
While the rest of his team couldn’t hit, Wright went 8-of-10 from the field for 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds, four of which were offensive.
The Suns ultimately won the glass battle 57-45.
Phoenix outscored New Orleans 40-30 in the paint.
In Thursday’s “Throwback”-themed win, the Suns stayed alive in the playoff hunt. Forty-five years ago, they looked a bit different:
TBT fact: the Suns clinched their first playoff berth 45 years ago today … at 37-43. And Dick Van Arsdale is in the house. #SunsVsPelicans
— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) March 20, 2015