Dragic, Bledsoe lead Suns past Pacers 116-99
PHOENIX — The Phoenix double-point guard combination of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe reminded everyone just how good they can be together.
Dragic scored 34 points, Bledsoe had 27 and the Suns beat Indiana 116-99 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory over the Pacers.
“Two electrifying guards playing together. That’s a tough matchup,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “They have incredible speed. If you don’t take care of the basketball they will expose you for 38 fast-break points, which is what happened tonight.”
The Suns’ guards, who are getting more time together on the court with Isaiah Thomas out with an injury, combined for 22-for-35 shooting. Dragic matched his season high for a game with 22 first-half points, and Bledsoe scored 21 in the second half.
Dragic made five of six 3-pointers, Bledsoe had seven assists.
“Finally, you know, we’ve been struggling a little bit,” Bledsoe said. “This game really was easy for us.”
Gerald Green and Markieff Morris added 15 points apiece for the Suns, who broke open the game in the final seven minutes.
The Suns, after two lethargic losses, wore down the Pacers with their high-energy game.
“It was a big talk for us all the last two days of having that enthusiasm,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said, “having that energy. … and I think these guys took it to heart.”
Miles scored 17 for Indiana, and Roy Hibbert had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Phoenix put together a 17-3 run spanning halftime that erased a nine-point Indiana lead and lifted the Suns to a 64-59 advantage on Dragic’s 13-footer with 8:01 left in the third quarter.
Miles went hard to the floor with 30.7 seconds left in the third, and after an official review, Green was called for a flagrant-one foul, giving Indiana two free throws, plus possession, much to the displeasure of the crowd. Hibbert hit two foul shots with eight seconds left to cut Phoenix’s lead to 83-79 entering the fourth.
Phoenix stretched it to 10 before Indiana closed to 94-88 on Donald Sloan’s layup with 7:24 left. But the Pacers’ Solomon Hill missed two free throws, Dragic hit a 3 and Bledsoe stole the ball for a breakaway dunk and Phoenix was off on a 12-0 run.
Vogel liked the play of his bench, who outscored the Suns’ reserves 57-30. But Phoenix outscored the Indiana starters by a startling 86-42.
“That’s something we’ve got to look at,” he said.
Pacers: Set a season high for points in first quarter (28) and in first half (56). … After three days off, Indiana is playing five games in eight days. … Indiana took a 42-33 lead on a 9-0 run. … Indiana shot 59 percent from the field in the first half, 37 percent in the second.
Suns: Hornacek said an MRI of Thomas’ injured ankle was negative and the guard might play Friday night at Dallas. Thomas has missed four games. … Phoenix has won eight of the last 10 against Indiana and 15 of the last 19.
Pacers: At Portland on Thursday.
Suns: At Dallas on Friday.
Earlier Tuesday, the Suns announced that naming rights to US Airways Center had been sold to the Pima-Maricopa tribal community. Starting next season, the building will be called Talking Stick Resort Arena. The tribes operate the casino-hotel-restaurant complex on the outskirts of north Scottsdale.
*Photo courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images