Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/24/12
PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns had every intention of handing New Orleans its fourth consecutive loss Friday night. All it took was career highs in points for two players, a huge third-quarter rally and a big defensive stand in overtime. Markieff Morris scored a career-high 23 points and had the biggest shot of a wild game on a three-pointer with 49.9 seconds left in overtime. That helped Phoenix win 111-108 in overtime after rallying from 19 points down in the third period, then blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth. Goran Dragic had 12 of his 20 points during the third-quarter rally for the Suns and PJ Tucker added a career-high 15 as the Suns have rallied from a double-digit deficit in four of their five homes wins this season, including a 26-point rally to beat Cleveland on Nov. 9. "Trust me, that is not how we draw it up," said Tucker, who has been out of the NBA since 2007 and played in Europe last year but was on the floor for more than 33 minutes Friday. "It comes down to courage and the good thing is we finished the game and finished off the win. We're trying to figure out how to be a good team and how to make the playoffs." Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry benched starters Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat much of the second half and rode Tucker and veteran Jermaine O'Neal (13 points 11 rebounds in 28 minutes). Both played huge roles in the win. "I can't say enough about PJ Tucker, he epitomizes what we want our entire team to be," Gentry said. "That is a hard, grind-it-out worker that never quits on any play. To have him on your team and have home play like that night in and night out ... it's a credit to the professionalism he brings to our team." The Hornets got eight 3-pointers and career-best 34 points from Ryan Anderson but they didn't score in overtime until he hit a shot with 30.6 seconds left -- 19 seconds after Morris gave the Suns a 108-103 lead with his big shot. "We've had a lot of games like this. We're battling but it's just tough," said Anderson, who hit eight of his 13 3-pointers. "Teams are making shots in the end and there are some plays where we could have made better decisions. At some point, we've got to learn from it." Greivis Vasquez added 25 points and 14 assists for the Hornets, and his 3-pointer with 17.8 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime tied at 103-103. "It's just hurtful the way we've been losing," Vasquez said. "We just have to play better defense. We keep losing and losing and losing and we keep giving up 100 points every game. It's a young team, but we have to come out here and play. We can't be scared, can't be afraid to make mistakes." New Orleans led 53-47 at halftime and opened the third quarter on a 19-6 run, with four consecutive 3-point bombs from Anderson part of his 14-point quarter. The last one pushed the New Orleans lead to 72-53 with 6:26 left. But the Suns finally found their stride with Dragic and Tucker doing the damage outside and O'Neal taking over inside. Dragic matched Anderson with three 3-pointers of his own and set up Morris for a 19-footer to get the rally started. Then Tucker, who had only one career 3-pointer coming into the game, hit the first of two to beat the third-period buzzer and cap a 19-5 run. That pulled the Suns to within four, 81-77. Dragic had 12 points and three assists in the quarter. "We knew if we put the ball in the post they would double-team (O'Neal) or Markieff and lucky for me I was open three times in a row," Dragic said. "Coach says if you have an open shot it doesn't matter how many you've missed, you have to take the shots. We don't like coming back from so far behind, but we have done it a couple of times and you know it's possible." The Suns kept it going to open the fourth, taking their first lead of 1the night at 82-81 on Jared Dudley's three-pointer with 10:33 left. And when Luis Scola hit an 8-foot hook, Phoenix had control of the game at 94-83 with 6:37 left. But the Hornets, without Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, had a comeback of their own in store and two more 3-pointers by Anderson -- with Suns hanging all over him -- highlighted the rally, which forced the Suns to win the game all over again. "I can honestly say I've never seen anybody shoot it like that," Gentry said. "That was Larry Bird-like if you ask me, and I don't know if Larry Bird ever shot 3's like that. Talk about shooting under duress -- he had one good look and the other ones ... I mean, we were right there and he just got it up and knocked it in." NOTES: Dragic came into Friday's game averaging just 2.1 turnovers a game -- which is exactly his average per game for steals (25 of each). He had three of each on Friday … Roger Mason got the start over rookie Austin Rivers at the shooting guard position. ... Davis has missed three consecutive games with an ankle injury after missing a pair earlier this month with a concussion. ... O'Neal missed six games in early November because of family matters. In his first three games back, O'Neal averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.67 blocks. ... after playing eight of their first 13 at home, the Suns now have a six-game, 11-day road trip beginning Sunday in Philadelphia.
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