Suns Strokes: Dragic carries Suns past Warriors
With his 3-month-old son among the season-high 17,846 in attendance, Goran Dragic scored a career-high 34 points, helping the Suns end a two-game losing streak with a 122-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
"Mateo, my son, it was his first game," he said. "I was a little bit hyped. I tried to show him what his Daddy can do. It was fun."
Dragic made 10-of-13 shots, including all six of his attempts in the second half. He was a perfect five-of-five, scoring 13 points in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter, in which the Suns outscored the Warriors 27-19. In addition, Dragic tied a career-high with six made three-pointers on his way to his sixth 30-point performance of the season.
All in all, not bad for someone who needed a couple of minutes there at the end of the third quarter after feeling dizzy.
"I was so tired. I think I was a little bit dehydrated. It was just a weird feeling," said Dragic, who also had 10 assists for his sixth double-double of the season and third career game with at least 30 points and 10 assists.
All five Suns starters scored in double figures, including Gerald Green who scored 11 of his 25 points in the third quarter. PJ Tucker finished with his fifth double-double of the season, grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 28 points, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter when the Suns limited Golden State to 35 percent shooting.
The Suns shot 53.8 percent to improve to 11-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or above.
"Offensively, it might be [the best game of the season]. These guys were sharp," head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
With the win, the Suns moved ahead of Golden State for the second-best record in the Pacific Division and the sixth-best in the Western Conference.
Dragic began his march towards a seventh straight 20-point performance with a perfect first quarter. He was 3-of-3 from the field, including one three-pointer and 3-of-3 from the foul line for 10 points.
Green recorded his 13th 20-point effort and his first since scoring 23 points at Milwaukee on Jan. 29. The Suns have now won 10 straight games when Green scores 20 or more.
Marcus Morris scored 14 points to reach double figures for the fifth time in his last six games, including the past four games in a row.
With the game tied at 39, the Suns went on an 8-0 run punctuated by Tucker's four-point play after being fouled by former teammate Jermaine O'Neal attempting a three-pointer.
During one 60 second stretch in the first quarter, four of the Suns five possessions ended in a turnover. For the game, the Suns turned it over 18 times. They have committed 52 turnovers in the past three games.
Markieff Morris' 12-game run of scoring in double figures came to an end. He missed all three of his shot attempts and was held scoreless for just the second time this season (at Detroit on Jan. 11).
STAT OF THE GAME
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dragic's performance is just the second time in franchise history that a player scored 34 or more points while attempting 13 or fewer field goals, joining Gail Goodrich who did so against the San Francisco Warriors on March 17, 1970, shooting 10-of-13 from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line.
HE SAID IT
"He was fantastic tonight," Hornacek said of Dragic. "Not only did he score, he got assists. And that is what we need him to do as a point guard."
"He got it going and he's a guy that, I talked about before the game, he's got a case to be made that he should be in the All-Star Game---the way he's playing," Golden State head coach Mark Jackson said of Dragic. "He's making great decisions out there, whether it be scoring for himself or making plays and he made it tough on our defense."
Hornacek joined Paul Westphal (39-11 in 1992-93), Scott Skiles (32-18 in 1999-2000) and Alvin Gentry (32-18 in 2008-09, 2009-10) as the only people to have at least 30 wins in their first 50 games as Suns head coach.
The Warriors played their second straight game without both starters David Lee (left shoulder sprain/left hip strain) and Andrew Bogut (left shoulder inflammation).
Rookie guard Archie Goodwin completed his second assignment with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League with a 25-point, 5-rebound performance. He averaged 24.3 points while shooting 55.1 percent in three games.
The Suns play their final game before the All-Star break, welcoming in the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat. Tip-off Tuesday, February 11 is scheduled for 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Miami has defeated the Suns seven straight times, including earlier this season when LeBron James scored an opponent-high 35 points in a 107-92 victory. Channing Frye led six Suns in double-digits with 16 points and Dragic just missed a triple-double with 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
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