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Green leads Suns past 76ers



PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns were able to make NBA history Friday night by playing two sets of brothers on the floor at the same time. But it took a lot longer for the Suns to empty their bench against the woeful Philadelphia 76ers then they had hoped.

Guard Gerald Green scored 21 points in 22 minutes off the bench and the Phoenix Suns opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to finally put away the Sixers 112-96 Friday.

Forward Markieff Morris matched Green with 21 points for the Suns, who won for the seventh time in the last nine games. The Suns trailed by two points at the half to the NBA’s worst team, but completed the season sweep and sent the Sixers to their fourth straight road loss on a seven-game trip that started with wins in Orlando and Miami.

“We let them in the paint far too much in the first half but we knew that wasn’t the whole game,” Markieff Morris said. “We had to close the paint down and make them outside shooters. We guarded better and then the shots just came.”

Finally with 2:41 left to play and the Suns safely in front 109-93, the crowd of 16,541 at US Airways Center got an extra treat when twin forwards Markieff and Marcus Morris were joined by guards Goran and Zoran Dragic and guard Eric Bledsoe. It’s the first time two sets of brothers have played together in major professional sports since Barry and Stephen Larkin and Aaron and Bret Boone comprised the starting infield for the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 27, 1998 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Zoran Dragic scored his first NBA points with 35.8 seconds left — fittingly on a fast-break pass from brother Goran Dragic, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“I feel really proud that he got his first points and it feels awesome to make NBA history with two sets of brothers playing together,” Goran Dragic said. “I’m glad he got an opportunity. I was looking for him on that fast break as soon as I got it.”

Bledsoe had 17 points, eight assists and five assists for the Suns (19-16), who have beaten the Sixers five straight times. Center Alex Len set a career high with six blocks in only 16 minutes and combined with center Miles Plumlee for 10 blocks.

“Guys were getting by us and when Alex and Miles to that for us, it’s big,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It triggers our fast break, gets us in the open court and we’re able to put up some points.”

Guard Tony Wroten had 28 points and four 3-pointers to lead Philadelphia, who committed 16 turnovers and have at least that many in 14 straight games. Guard Michael Carter-Williams collected 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Henry Sims had 16 points for the 4-27 Sixers.

“I was happy with our effort,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “Not once did we feel sorry for ourselves or hang our heads. I don’t fault their effort at all. (The Suns) averaged 115 points in their last five games and you better find a way to score too.”

Wroten’s 28 points were three shy of a career high. He hit 10 of 19 shots from the floor and had 15 points in the second quarter alone.

“I got it going offensively but none of that matters when you don’t get a win,” Wroten said. “We knew coming (Phoenix was) a one-on-one team and you have to tip your hat to them for making tough shots.”

The Suns made seven of their first 12 shots from 3-point range — they finished the game with 14 3-pointers — and scored 57 points at home in the first half, yet still found a way to walk off trailing. The Suns committed 11 turnovers against the team that leads the league in that category (19.2), allowing 32 Philadelphia points in the paint.

Bledsoe had 10 points in the first quarter and helped Phoenix turn an early four-point deficit into a 34-29 lead. Luc Mbah a Moute had 10 points and four rebounds in the quarter, including seven of the first nine Sixers points. But he had only two points the rest of the night.

Green had 10 points off the bench for the Suns in the second quarter; seven of them during a 9-0 run capped by his driving layin that gave Phoenix its biggest lead at 53-43 with 6:19 left. But Philadelphia answered with nine straight points of its own, the last five by Carter-Williams, including a 3-pointer to make it 53-52 with 2:49.

Wroten had 10 of his 15 points in the first four minutes. He ended the half with a 3-point play with 1.4 seconds to send the Sixers to intermission with a 59-57 lead.

Morris had nine points in the third quarter and Bledsoe had five assists — including back-to-back alley-oop feeds to Green and center Miles Plumlee — as the Suns built their lead to a game-high 12 at 80-68 with 2:20 left. But the Sixers came right back with 11 straight points, with forward Robert Covington following a 3-pointer with two free throws to draw his team within a point.

NOTES: Sixers F Luc Mbah a Moute returned to the lineup after missing two games with a left calf strain and G K.J. McDaniels made his second start of the season alongside Michael Carter-Williams. Henry Sims and JaKarr Sampson returned to the bench. “Balance, athlete, let’s try something, I only have two point guard and have to figure out a way to play Tony (Wroten) creatively with Michael … all of those reasons,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. … Phoenix F and Philadelphia native Marcus Morris is averaging 10.8 points and 50.4 percent shooting from the field in 16 games since going to the bench in favor of P.J. Tucker on Dec. 2. He had nine on Friday. … The Suns averaged 116.5 points in the past six games, scoring 134 points in an overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Dec. 31 and 124 in a win over Dallas on Dec. 23. … Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek played 132 games for the Sixers from 1992 to 1994. He was traded there from Phoenix along with Andrew Lang and Tim Perry for Charles Barkley on June 17, 1992.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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