Barbosa, Bench Lift Suns to Win Over Nuggets
Goran Dragic and Channing Frye had led the Suns throughout most of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the bench made sure their heavy lifting was done.
Dragic (15 points, six assists, five rebounds) didn't play a second of the fourth quarter and Frye (30 points) saw less than three minutes in the period as the Suns reserves secured 117-103 win for Phoenix.
There were plenty of heroes off the bench. Ish Smith (seven points, seven rebounds, five assists) ran the offense. The Morris twins lent additional scoring (26 points combined). Rookie Alex Len made his mark inside (nine points, six rebounds).
It was an older face that sparked the reserves, however. Leandro Barbosa's home debut this season couldn't have gone better. He scored eight of his 13 points in the first half, using his speed to get in the lane and hit an assortment of layups and floaters. He added four rebounds, three assists and zero turnovers.
"I'm happy to be back, especially with those fans and my teammates running up and down," Barbosa said. "It was a great time for me."
When Channing Frye checked out with 9:26 left in the game, Phoenix led by just five.
Less than three minutes later, they had built an 11-point advantage.
Markieff Morris hit two free throws, Alex Len scored on an Ish Smith assist and Marcus Morris scored six straight on an and-one and a three-pointer, giving Phoenix a 101-88 lead.
When the reserves proved they would not forfeit the lead they had built, Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek rewarded them by leaving them on the floor to finish the game.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"He takes one or two dribbles and then he explodes." -- Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek on Leandro Barbosa
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Channing Frye torched the Nuggets however he chose. The veteran big man scored 30 points in just 28 minutes, hitting 12-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He also turned in a game-high three blocks. If it weren't for the bench playing so well, chances are he would have passed his career high mark of 33 points.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
0 minutes -- the number of minutes Goran Dragic had to play in the fourth quarter. Ish Smith and the Suns reserves made sure the Suns' captain could get some rest and a win on the same night.