8.06.2016

Gerald Green Drops 18 in 7 Minutes

November 23, 2014

The Pacers probably think that game was about them.

Gerald Green was undoubtedly even more hyper to play Saturday night because the Suns were visiting his previous employer. Indiana did not use him in the same way and then traded him.

But to say his 18 first-half points over 71/2 minutes was solely about sticking it to his old team would be to discount what he has become for the Suns, who won their fourth consecutive game on the road trip with a Green-colored 106-83 cruise past the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

Green outwardly enjoyed scoring 23 points over 22 minutes, but it was not something he saved for Indiana. This is the same player who doubled his career scoring average last season, had a 25-point quarter against Oklahoma City, scored 36 in 30 minutes at Denver and has exploded for huge second or fourth quarters repeatedly this season.

"He does it for him and me," fellow former Pacer Miles Plumlee said of Green's on-court celebrations.

Green might be the only NBA player who can get hot off opening with a banked 3-pointer. But from that point, he scored 18 of the Suns' next 25 points for a 43-31 lead.

The Suns (9-5) remained in command from there, recording a second consecutive road win of more than 20 points for the first time since Nov. 6-9, 2004. With five 3-pointers, Green is the dynamite that makes the Suns offense detonate against a top defense like Indiana (5-8).

"Jeff (Hornacek) lets me go," Green said of his Suns coach. "He takes me out of that bird cage."

Green can fly, but it is more how he is used in Phoenix. He actually is only averaging two more minutes per game this season than in his 2012-13 Pacers season but he has the Green light. A night earlier, he scored 11 points in 11 minutes without missing a shot and took the second half off.

He had plenty of company on each night with his bench running mate, Isaiah Thomas, scoring 16. Markieff Morris added 13 for a Suns team that ran for 25 fastbreak points. Hornacek noted that the Suns "only" had 10 fastbreak points at halftime, a pace ahead of their average of 16.8 fastbreak points per game that ranked third in the NBA. They finished with 23 fast break points, a season high for an Indiana opponent.

"We made an emphasis of getting stops and just taking off with it," Hornacek said of halftime, when Phoenix led 55-48.

"I thought our guys pushed it."

The Pacers, already besieged by five players being sidelined by injuries, had good intentions of slowing the Suns' pace with center Roy Hibbert as a back line of defense and a post-up threat to slow the pace.

But those hopes wilted when Hibbert sprained his ankle while fouling Eric Bledsoe's drive midway through the first quarter.

"When we have to go small, it's kind of into their hands," Indiana guard Solomon Hill said. "When he comes out, we kind of play the pace that they want to. They're a very hard team to stop when they're hitting on all cylinders."

Indiana shot a season-low 36.9 percent, just two games after the Suns held Detroit to 37.9 percent shooting. The Suns made 12 or more 3-pointers in consecutive games for the first time this season, shooting 40.3 percent on 3s in the two games.

It marked the Suns' first win in the second game of a back-to-back in four tries this season. No Suns player logged more than 24 minutes in Friday night's blowout at winless Philadelphia. The Suns are 4-1 on the road trip and finish it Monday at Toronto, going for a fifth consecutive win against an 11-2 Raptors team.

"We are so young and we have so many guys that can play," Suns forward P.J. Tucker said. "We all play with a lot of energy."

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Key player

Suns guard Gerald Green scored 12 in the first quarter's final 3:06. He made five 3-pointers to score 23 points in 22 minutes.

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