Dragic responds to All-Star snub with big night for Suns.
There were just three games on the NBA schedule on Thursday night, with the Phoenix Suns springing a surprise on the road in Indiana against the Pacers.
The Suns came out on fire in the first half at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, scoring 66 points before holding off the hosts in the second as Goran Dragic led his team with 28 points and seven assists.
Phoenix forward Channing Frye insisted that the Pacers are no longer “the underdog” this season, and teams are specifically stepping their game up to defeat them.
“Teams come out and give it their best shot. For them to expect us to come in and lay down, for any team to lay down, it’s not going to happen,” he said, as reported by ESPN,
Gerald Green and Marcus Morris scored 16 points apiece as the Suns secured their fourth straight win which moves them to 28-18 for the season as they look to secure their place in the post-season.
In contrast, it was just a second home loss of the season for the Pacers who slip to 35-10, despite Roy Hibbert scoring 26 points while David West added 18.
Frank Vogel’s men appear to be going through a slight hump in recent nights, having now lost three of their last five games.
Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors put any potential rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers aside with a dominant 111-92 win.
David Lee had 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut grabbed 17 boards as they took the first game since their fiery meeting on Christmas Day.
Stephen Curry scored 22 points along with seven assists, as the Warriors were also able to out-rebound the Clippers 53-34 and outscored them 66 to 22 in the paint.
“We’ve had some special nights, so it’s not like we are trying to reach for something we are not capable of doing,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We are all well aware of it. What I liked about tonight was that we set the tone early and battled.”
Golden State move to 28-19 and to within four games of the Clippers (33-16) after ending a poor run which saw them lose six of their last nine.
In the other game of the night, the New York Knicks routed the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden, with Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. each scoring 29 points as they embarrassed their Eastern Conference rivals.
J.R. Smith added 19 points in a one-sided contest, and the Knicks wrapped up January with a 10-6 record after going through to December 9-21, giving themselves a decent opportunity of making the playoffs.
“It is starting to feel a lot better here on our home court to win basketball games,” Anthony said. “We’re just trying to keep it going.”
Anthony scored enough to become the 50th player in NBA history to surpass 19,000 points, while Hardaway Jr. had a career high in points as the game will also be remembered for Smith’s crossover on Tristian Thompson.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson will be delighted with the effort shown from his team, as he continues to deal with the absence of Andrea Bargnani, Kenyon Martin, Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving scored 24 points but had his long-term future in Cleveland questioned again after the game, as he continued to insist that the team is all that mattered.
Phoenix Suns 102-94 Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers 86-117 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Clippers 92-111 Golden State Warriors