Suns Overwhelmed by Pacers in Fourth, Lose 116-97
After a tough loss against Miami on Friday, the Suns got a little rest before traveling to Indiana to take on the Pacers. The rest didn’t help the Suns when it came to active players, with Brandon Knight out with food poisoning, with Ronnie Price and Alex Len sitting out as well. Archie Goodwin was awarded the start at point guard, with Devin Booker starting alongside him in the back court. The Pacers played like a team that will be in the playoffs, and put the Suns away in the fourth quarter with a final score of 116-97.
Without their best player not named Eric Bledsoe, the Suns struggled against the strong Pacers defense. Booker was able to score the Suns’ first points of the night with an “and-one”, after going 5:20 seconds of basketball without a score. The Suns were able to get some rhythm in the first with Markieff Morris in the lineup, but the Suns had a rough time digging out of the hole made in the beginning of the game. Recently acquired Lorenzo Brown was able to get minutes in the first with the point guard injuries, and made the most of the opportunities with two nice passes to Morris who was able to convert on both attempts. After starting 0-9, but were able to go 8-15 for the rest of the quarter to trail by a score of 25-19.
The Suns used a mix of good defense and Paul George being on the bench for the Pacers to to start the second quarter. The Suns did send the Pacers to the line early, giving the Pacers easy points. The Suns forced the Pacers to miss nine shots in a row before making a shot. Mirza Teletovic was able to tie the game at 28 with a three pointer before the Pacers hit that first field goal of the quarter. Brown was able to hit a three pointer of his own, and Teletovic followed with another three to tie the game again. George continued to sit for the Pacers due to foul trouble after committing an offensive foul, his third before halftime. Brown was able to get a layup to give the Suns their first lead of the game with a score of 36-34. The Basketball Gods wouldn’t have this, and looked to give the Pacers some rest with power issues in the arena. After 20 minutes, the game was back under way, and the Pacers were able to take a two point lead before Teletovic was able to hit another three. Unfortunately the Suns weren’t able to do much else, and after being up by two before the power outage, the Suns found themselves down 52-42 heading into halftime.
Goodwin was able to score right out of halftime, giving him his first points of the game. He continued to power his way to rim, and helped push the Suns to get to within single digits, and then cut the Pacers’ lead to two. After a shot from behind the arc by Booker, Morris was able to get an “and-one” to give the Suns another lead. The lead was short lived for the third, and the Pacers regained a four point lead heading into the fourth.
The Suns once again found themselves down by ten, and kept fighting to get back to single digits, with T.J. Warren hitting a three pointer and Morris scoring more points in the paint. The Suns just couldn’t stop the Pacers in the fourth, and the Suns fell by a final score of 116-97. The Suns shot 36-89(40.4%) from the field, 8-25(32%) from behind the arc, and 17-27(63%) from the free throw line. The Suns will play their next game against the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
The Stand Outs
In a game without Knight, Booker picked up the slack in the starting lineup, scoring 19 points, shooting 6-6 in the second half. The only negative for Booker’s second half is that he only attempted one shot in the fourth quarter. He didn’t have many looks in the fourth, and Hornaceck should have drawn up more opportunities to get the ball in his hands. This is a big problem with two ball dominant guards in the back court, and the only thing Booker can do is demand the ball from his teammates. That is a lot to ask from a rookie, but if he can continue to play like this, his teammates will notice.
Teletovic had another huge game off the bench. He scored 19 to tie Booker for team high, and shot 5-8 from behind the arc. Teletovic was a big reason why the Suns hung around with the Pacers for so long. Depending on how much stock you put into plus/minus, he was the only Sun with a positive figure in that category, with +1. Turns out the league leader off the bench in made threes can always be relied on to hit threes off the bench.
Morris was big off the bench, scoring 16 points and adding nine boards. While he shot 7-18 from the field, and 0-4 from behind the arc, the Suns were only leading for a handful of poses ions in the game. He was needed to score points with a total of ten active players, and he did just that.
Tucker didn’t have a huge game, but he was a big reason for George’s foul trouble in the first half. He play’s with a ton of heart and never gives up, and that was what stood out tonight. With Knight out and the team needing a push in this game, Tucker answered the call.
There was a lot of bad, so I decided to cover the stand out players instead. My next recap will be back to normal with the good and bad highlights, but in a game were you start down 12-0 and lose by 20, one can assume there was a lot wrong for that to happen.