INDIANAPOLIS — As one of the NBA’s elite teams, the Indiana Pacers have a target on their backs. The Phoenix Suns came out firing in the first half Thursday night and held the Pacers off in the second to hand Indiana just its second home loss of the season.
“This year they’re not the underdogs anymore,” Suns forward Channing Frye said. “Teams come out and give it their best shot. For them to expect us to come in and lay down, for any team to lay down, it’s not going to happen.”
Goran Dragic had 28 points and seven assists to lead Phoenix to the 102-94 win over the Pacers.
Gerald Green and Marcus Morris scored 16 points apiece to help the Suns win their fourth straight game. Markieff Morris, who finished with 15 points, hit a three-pointer with 2:58 remaining to give the Suns a 98-92 lead and Dragic dunked to give the Suns a 100-94 lead with 44 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
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The Suns (28-18) seemed to have the game put away by halftime. Dragic scored 21 of the Suns’ 66 points in the first half — the most given up by the Pacers (35-10) in a half this season since the Suns scored 62 on Indiana a week ago in a 124-100 win.
The Pacers rallied after trailing 66-49 at the break, but never retook the lead. Roy Hibbert had 26 points and David West added 18 for the Pacers, who have lost three of five games.
• Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 29 points as the host New York Knicks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-86 for their fourth straight victory.
Kyrie Irving scored 24 points for the Cavs on a day in which his long-term commitment to Cleveland was again questioned. ESPN reported that Irving has privately told people he wants out of Cleveland, not the first time such a report has surfaced.
• The Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets each had two players picked as reserves for the NBA All-Star Game, while the Pacers had to settle for just Hibbert despite the league’s second-best record. LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard made it from the Trail Blazers, who have been among the Western Conference leaders all season. Dwight Howard was chosen along with Houston teammate James Harden.
Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki round out the West reserves. The rest of the East reserves are: Miami’s Chris Bosh, Washington’s John Wall, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap.