On Wednesday night at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Gerald Green put on a show in his Suns uniform.
The Indiana Pacers were in town with their league-best 33-7 record. Phoenix provided the Pacers their eighth loss of the season, in large part because of Green’s outstanding performance.
Green, a former Pacer and with his seventh team in seven NBA seasons, scored 23 points on 6-13 shooting, including 3-5 from three-point range and 8-10 at the charity stripe. Those are numbers Indiana never saw Green post in his one season with the team – last year.
Green and another former Pacer-turned-Sun, Miles Plumlee, were traded to Phoenix in the offseason for veteran forward Luis Scola. It has been a win-win for both sides of the deal, as Green and Plumlee start for a young Suns team and Scola is a critical sixth man for Indiana.
However, it was Phoenix that got the better of Indiana Wednesday night. Green and Plumlee were the better of the two sides of the trade. Plumlee had 11 points and seven rebounds, including multiple easy dunks when the Pacers’ defense broke down.
Multiple times, Indiana did not get back in transition against Phoenix. The Suns lead the NBA in fast break points per game. Stopping their transition offense is key to beating Phoenix.
The Pacers’ transition defense was so poor, Green was able to do this:
It is known across the league that Green has the ability to sky high above the defense when given the opportunity. Indiana should be aware of it as well, having teamed with Green a season ago.
On that particular play, and many others, the Pacers failed to stop the ball, which led to easy points for the Suns.
Indiana will need to sharpen up their defense in transition, get back on made and missed field goals, and limit their turnovers on the remainder of their Western Conference road trip.