Surprising Suns stay hot against 76ers

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PHILADELPHIA — Gerald Green scored 30 points and Goran Dragic had 24 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 124-113 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Phoenix's Ish Smith drives against Philadelphia's Elliot Williams during the first half of the Suns' win Monday night. Phoenix led from the outset, running their record to 26-18.  H. RUMPH JR./ASSOCIATED PRESS
H. RUMPH JR./ASSOCIATED PRESS
Phoenix's Ish Smith drives against Philadelphia's Elliot Williams during the first half of the Suns' win Monday night. Phoenix led from the outset, running their record to 26-18.

There was no need for a Suns comeback in this one. They led wire-to-wire over the hapless Sixers, one night after they rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to win at Cleveland.

The Suns made their first six shots and 10 of 11, and raced to a 16-point lead. Green made his first seven shots until he botched a fastbreak dunk.

Markieff Morris scored 13 points and had four blocks. The Suns blocked 12 shots.

Green and Dragic, Phoenix’s starting backcourt, combined to make 19 of 25 shots and the Suns shot around 60 percent for most of the game.

Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points and 11 assists for the Sixers, who have lost 10 of 12.

The Suns and Sixers were both expected to finish near the bottom of their conferences. After a 3-0 start, the Sixers crashed back to reality and are one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. The surprising Suns (26-18) have survived the loss of Eric Bledsoe (knee) and have positioned themselves as playoff team in the Western Conference.

PELICANS: Eric Gordon is tuning out trade talk and whispers that he’s lost a step.

After missing much of his first two seasons in New Orleans with a nagging right knee injury, Gordon has played in 40 of New Orleans’ 43 games this season, demonstrating a reliability previously unseen since he recieved a four-year, $58 million contract in July 2012.

Gordon has averaged nearly 16 points per game. Two games ago, he helped the Pelicans pull out a comeback victory in Detroit, hitting a clutch 3-pointer inside the final four minutes and later spinning into the lane to sink a game-winning floater in the final seconds.

Still, making the argument that Gordon’s production is living up to his salary is anything but a slam dunk, even for Gordon himself.

“Individually, I think I can give more, do more,” Gordon said after practice Monday, one day after his 14 points helped the Pelicans win for the third time in four games. “People here think I should be this big-time 20-point (per game) scorer. This is more of a team game here, this system here. It’s a different adjustment. For me, now it’s all about playing as many games as possible and getting my body back to being used to playing an 82-game season, because I haven’t had that in almost two to three years now.”

BUCKS: Starting center Larry Sanders and veteran guard O.J. Mayo will miss Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the second time in a week that each player has been sidelined by illness.

KINGS: DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay sat out again because of injuries.

Cousins missed his third consecutive game with a sprained left ankle Monday night against the Utah Jazz. Gay warmed up his strained left Achilles but was scratched.


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