PHOENIX, Ariz. - As the Phoenix Suns faced an identical scenario a week ago -- coming off a Saturday win with their next game not until Tuesday -- head coach Jeff Hornacek gave his players a break. They would not practice on Sunday.
OK, so it was Super Bowl Sunday.
Still, Hornacek figured a team that had won five straight and had gone four weeks without a full day off at home -- meaning no early morning travel arrivals -- needed one.
Not this Sunday, after an impressive win over Golden State the night before and a visit coming up by two-time defending champion Miami on Tuesday.
"Typically this deep into the season, today would've probably been a day off, except for the fact that we got kind of a goofy schedule," said Hornacek, referencing the five-day All-Star break ahead. "We got to try to keep their conditioning, so we wanted them to come in today and just do a little bit."
Practice lasted roughly an hour, just long enough to "get our heart pumping a little bit" according to Gerald Green.
"This kind of just keeps us in rhythm, keeps everything in sync," he said. "Everybody knows that we have a higher agenda. Right now we got to try finish strong this first half of the season before the All-Star break."
The Suns broke out of their recent two-game funk by beating the Warriors 122-109. And yes, Goran Dragic scored a career-high 34 points, Green added 25 and the team shot 53.8 percent. But more importantly, it was the defense -- specifically in the fourth quarter -- that stood out to Hornacek.
"We did an excellent job of putting pressure on guys, helping each other out and making every shot they took a tough shot," he said.
The Warriors missed 13 of 20 shots, including five of six three-pointers in the final 12 minutes.
The win pushed the Suns' record to 30-20, second-best in the Pacific Division and sixth-best in the Western Conference.
"It's great that we've gotten here," Hornacek said. "But I've said it all year, these guys got a little taste early of some success and they feel they can win every game."
Including the last game before the break, a game against a Heat team that surprisingly lost at Utah on Saturday, 94-89.
"It'll be big for us," Tucker said of a potential victory over Miami (35-14), the fourth-best team in the league. "It's just one out of 82, but we definitely want to win it going into the All-Star break so when we come back we'll be -- hopefully, we can be rolling."