Green's 41 Points Fuels Suns in Comeback Win Over Thunder
The Suns came into tonight fully aware that the Thunder won the first of three meetings this season in Oklahoma City on Nov. 3, swept the four-game series last season, and the three-game series in 2011-12.
If you do the math, that makes 11 straight over Phoenix.
Couple that with Miles Plumlee being out for a second straight game along with Eric Bledsoe continuing his comeback, the shorthanded Suns showed tremendous heart, grit and hustle en route to an impressive 128-122 win in front of over 18,000 fans inside an electrified US Airways Center.
But the narrative simply doesn’t do it justice.
Gerald Green scored 25 of his career-high 41 points in the third quarter as the Suns stormed back from 16-points down. After trailing by as many as 16 in the quarter, the Suns scored the final 14 points of the third to enter the fourth quarter up three, 101-98. It quickly became a 21-3 run when Marcus Morris hit a 3-pointer to put the Suns up 108-101 with just over nine minutes to go.
To say that Gerald Green’s third quarter was one of the most impressive in Suns history would be an understatement. Green was 7-of-11, including 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. In fact, Green's eruption fell one point shy of a Suns record for most points in a quarter set by Stephon Marbury in 2002. His career-best eight 3-pointers also was one shy of the franchise mark. Green now has four games with 30 or more points this season; he had three in his career entering it.
Better yet? It was the Suns’ second 40-point performance in four games. The Dragon, Goran Dragic, tallied 40 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, Feb. 28.
But it didn’t stop there.
Markieff Morris put up 24 huge points to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Goran Dragic scored six of the team’s final 12 points to finish with 22 and four assists. It was the 11th time this season Markieff Morris scored 23 or more points and the Suns are now 8-3 in those games.
Perhaps more impressively, the Suns shot 52.5 percent from the floor to improve to 15-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or above from the field. They also tied their season-high with 15 three-pointers (Nov. 20 vs. Sacramento, Dec. 21 vs. Dallas, Mar. 2, vs. Atlanta) along with their season-high for second-half points with 67 (Jan. 15 vs. L.A. Lakers).
Sure, it was just a game in March during the 2013-14 Suns season, but it sure felt like something special.
A 25-point third quarter from Gerald Green helped not only get the Suns back into the game, but ultimately the win. Green scored 25 of the team's 40 points in the quarter to completely reenergize the entire team and get the fans pumped at US Airways Center.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"It's so much fun. It really is. At the end of the day, coach gives us free reign to do what we do. It's not just me; everybody on this team is having great years. He puts players in great positions to succeed. Just look at everybody from the starting five to the bench. I could never have the season I'm having if it wasn't for this team and the coaching staff. That's why he's the Coach of the Year, in my opinion." -- the humble Gerald Green on Jeff Hornacek and the Suns' coaching staff. Green also made note of Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Markieff Morris, who added 24 points, six rebounds and three assists.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Gerald Green had the best game of his career. Scoring 41 points on 12-of-22 shooting including 8-of-13 from beyond the arc, Green's confidence and never-say-die attitude helped ignite the entire team. His 25 points in the third quarter certainly didn't hurt either.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT OF THE NIGHT
87: the number of combined points scored by Gerald Green (41), Goran Dragic (22) and Markieff Morris (24). The trio shot 28-of-53 (53 percent) and were huge catalysts in the second half where the Suns as a team put up 67 points.