Green, Plumlee lead Suns past Lakers 117-90
When the Suns sent Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers over the
summer, the highlight of the trade for Phoenix seemingly was
getting a first-round draft pick.
Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee? Green had bounced around the NBA
when he wasn’t playing overseas. The Pacers gave up on Plumlee
after just one season.
Now Green and Plumlee are key cogs in the Suns’ surprising
Green hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points, while Plumlee
added 17 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds Monday night
in a 117-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
”When you get players from other teams that may not have gotten
the chance they think they deserved, you get the best out of
them,” Suns forward Channing Frye said. ”That’s what they’re
Plumlee, who played in just 14 games for the Pacers as a rookie
a year ago, had his way inside with an ailing Pao Gasol in the
Suns’ third straight win.
Green, who has played for seven NBA teams, has hit 16 3s over
the past three games.
”These stretches that he gets on, I don’t know if there’s many
guys in the league that can do that,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek
said. ”We didn’t anticipate that.”
Marcus Morris added 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point
range for Phoenix, which held a 62-39 edge on the boards in their
eighth win in nine games.
”Right now Phoenix is a better team than us,” Lakers coach
Mike D’Antoni said, ”especially in the condition we are in.”
Nick Young scored 19 points and Jodie Meeks 18 for the
undermanned Lakers, who fell to 1-2 since Kobe Bryant was sidelined
with a knee injury.
Gasol, who sat out Saturday’s loss to Golden State with an upper
respiratory infection, started but had little energy as Plumlee
scored on alley-oop dunks, post moves and putbacks.
The second-year player from Duke hit 8 of 14 shots and blocked
two shots as the surprising Suns moved to 17-10, their best start
since 18-9 in 2009-10.
”We don’t know any different,” Frye said of his young team.
”We like winning.”
Gasol had 10 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes before he
left the game for good midway through the third quarter after
bumping heads with Plumlee. That opened a gash that left him
bleeding from the corner of his right eye.
It was that kind of night for the Lakers, who watched the Suns
hit 14 3-pointers in their sixth loss in nine games.
”Why would I be discouraged?” a testy D’Antoni said. ”We are
fighting with a bunch of good guys that played well before and they
will play again. If (the fans) are discouraged, then find another
team to root for. We are not going to give up.
”Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That is not even fair to
these guys. They’re going to fight.”
The Lakers only healthy point guard was ex-Sun Kendall Marshall,
signed last week and who committed four turnovers in six minutes in
his debut Saturday. He didn’t play until the game was decided in
the fourth quarter.
The 6-foot-6 Xavier Henry again started at point guard with
Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Steve Nash
(back) all sidelined.
Despite being outrebounded by Plumlee alone (9-8) and committing
10 fouls in the first quarter, the Lakers only trailed 28-24.
Then the Suns got hot from the outside – again.
After hitting just 1 of 7 3-pointers in the first quarter,
Phoenix drained seven of their first nine in the second, including
four from Green as the Suns built a 62-46 lead.
The Suns, who extended their team record of hitting at least
seven 3s to 19 games, built a 24-point third-quarter lead behind
Plumlee’s work inside and Green’s from the perimeter.
”We’ve pretty much simplified it for them,” Frye said.
”Gerald, come of the screen and shoot the ball. Miles, come off a
screen and dunk the ball.
”It’s pretty simple, and I think they’re growing inside those
NOTES: D’Antoni is `’optimistic” Farmar will return Wednesday
vs. Miami. Farmar will meet with doctors Tuesday. . While Blake is
still weeks from returning and wearing a brace on his right arm,
he’s been able to work on his opposite hand and said he can now
consistently make free throws lefty. . About the only thing Plumee
did wrong was air-ball a first-quarter free throw. ”I needed to
take a bigger breath,” Plumlee joked.