Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green are Suns' 1-2 Punch

November 13, 2014

They have white jerseys instead of white horses and chest-pounding in lieu of armor, but Suns reserve guards Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green keep coming to the rescue.

One or the other has led the Suns in scoring for six of eight games. The Suns would not have pulled out Wednesday night's 112-104 win against Brooklyn at US Airways Center without a massive defensive turnaround in the second half, but Green and Thomas bought the defense time to show up.

After Green and Thomas combined for 31 fourth-quarter points in Sunday's win against Golden State, the bench backcourt pair combined for 49 points Wednesday night to take a Suns homestand from 0-2 to 2-2 with one game to go Friday against Charlotte. 

Green and Thomas have outscored the opposing teams by 17 (53-36) in the fourth quarters of this week's wins.

The Suns (5-3) held the Nets (4-3) to 27.5 percent shooting in the second half after allowing them to shoot 70.6 percent in the first half, when Brooklyn led 63-49. The intensified defense not only gave Green and Thomas a chance to ignite the offense, but getting stops also kick-started the Suns' pace.

The Suns went from no fast-break points in the game's first 19 minutes to 24 fast-break points in the game's final 29 minutes.

"We're trying to run, run, run," Green said. "That's what the Phoenix Suns do. We run. If we don't run, then we're not playing our best basketball. It doesn't matter if it's only 30 seconds left in the fourth or 30 seconds beginning into the game. We're trying to run. That's what we do. We're trying to run you to death so you're asleep."

The Suns worked their way out of a 19-point hole with aggressive perimeter defense and sound help in the paint. Starting the second half with seven consecutive Nets misses, the Suns pulled out their third double-digit comeback among five wins.

The Suns had the game back to even midway through the third quarter, but the hold was tenuous at 101-99 with 3:05 to play. From there, the defense did not allow another point until the win was sealed with less than 30 seconds left.

"We played with more energy," Thomas said. "We were more physical. They were definitely more physical than us in the first half. We changed that and we got out running."

Green finished with 28 points, including 11 on free throws, and Thomas added 21 with nine of his points coming on perfect free-throw shooting. The Suns had 19 of their 24 fast-break points in the second half.

"Isaiah Thomas pretty much had his way with us in the pick-and-roll, and we couldn't score," Nets guard Joe Johnson said. "When you can't score against a team like this, they're going to score."

For the first half of the game, it looked like the Suns were going to spoil Military Appreciation Night by not having a defense.

"Sometimes, we just allow teams to run their offense," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "If you get up on guys, guys are not comfortable."

Through the middle of the first quarter, the Suns became turnstiles for the Nets, giving entrance into the lane for most of the scores on nine consecutive possessions that were the first few digs in the 19-point hole.


FLCeltsFan said...

I love this series of articles. While I've always kind of followed Green's career I didn't really follow him that closely in Phoenix. It's great to see the chemistry between IT and Green. I wonder if IT had something to do with Danny signing Green in Boston. We might see Green finally reach his potential under Stevens like Turner did over the last two seasons. Good stuff!!!

Lex said...

He could be a rotational player. Threes plus D. He wants one decent contract before he's done. This year is how he gets it.

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