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n his previous two starts

  • January 1, 2020
    INDIANAPOLIS -- As one of the NBAs elite teams, the Indiana Pacers have a target on their backs. [b]Albert Abreu Jersey[/b] . The Phoenix Suns came out firing in the first half and held the Pacers off in the second to hand Indiana just its second home loss of the season. "This year theyre 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, its not going to happen." Goran Dragic had 28 points and seven assists to lead Phoenix to the 102-94 win over the Pacers on Thursday night. 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 3-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. 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. "We are at our best when we start the game well," Dragic said. "We played an up-tempo game, so I think they were a little bit tired." 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. Indiana went on an 8-2 run early in the second half with shots by David West, Paul George, Lance Stephenson and George Hill to get within 70-53. Later, George was fouled on a layup and converted the 3-point play to make it 71-61 with 7:01 left in the third. Miles Plumlee missed a dunk and Hibbert scored on a putback to get Indiana within eight. Frye answered with a basket and then Hibbert scored Indianas next six points to get the Pacers within 73-69. "We came out, got ourselves back in it in the second half with defence, but couldnt get up over the hump," Hibbert said. "They outplayed us." The Pacers got within a point when Hill hit two free throws to make it 91-90 with 4:20 remaining, but Green extended the lead with two free throws. Hill made a layup before Green hit a jumper to put the Suns ahead 95-92 and Markieff Morris 3-pointer to give the Suns a five-point lead. "In the end, that third quarter cost us a little bit," Dragic said. "They came really strong. They made some open shots and that made it a little bit of a different game." It was much different from the way Phoenix played in the first half. They took a lead right away in the first quarter. They went on a 9-0 run early in the game when Dragic tied the game on a layup and later hit a jumper to give the Suns a 6-8 lead. Then Green hit a 3-pointer and another basket to make it 13-6 with 6:24 left in the first quarter. The Suns went on a 15-2 run to close out the first quarter with a 36-19 lead. Stephenson, who left the game in the first quarter after getting hit in the right eye, scored 12 second-quarter points. West added 10, but the Pacers were never able to put together a run or cut into the deficit. Even when George hit a jumper falling out of bounds that went over the corner of the backboard and through the hoop, it didnt matter. Dragic hit a 3-pointer to take back the lead and to give the Suns a 62-45 lead. NOTES: In four halves against the Pacers this season, the Suns have scored 62 points or more in three of them. . Stephenson recorded his fourth triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. . Hibbert and George become the first Pacers teammates to earn All-Star honours in the same season since Jermaine ONeal and Ron Artest in 2004. [b]Don Mattingly Jersey[/b] . Case in point: LeBron James vs. Ben McLemore. James was driving to the rim in the first quarter and McLemore decided to try to take the charge, which was quite admirable and predictably futile. [b]Adam Ottavino Jersey[/b] . After not scoring 40 points in the opening quarter in the last five seasons, the Rockets have done it five times this season and twice in the last three games. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura succinctly and aptly described the series finale at Texas. "Its an odd game," Ventura said after the 16-2 victory Sunday that ended Chicagos four-game losing streak. There was the bases-loaded triple by the fill-in leadoff hitter Marcus Semien after an intentional walk to the No. 9 batter, the strikeout that stood on a replay challenge after Alejandro De Aza insisted he was hit by the pitch, and White Sox starter Erik Johnson allowing two runs on only one hit over five innings. "Its always a good day if you get a win, the team gets a win," Johnson said. "If you can go out and compete without your best stuff and your team overcomes and puts up a lot of runs, its always a positive." Jose Abreu and Jordan Danks each had two-run homers while Johnson combined with three relievers on a two-hitter against the Rangers, who had won five in a row. The White Sox went ahead to stay with three unearned runs off Robbie Ross (1-1) in the fifth, including Abreus fifth homer of the season for a 5-2 lead. Johnson (1-1) allowed only a single, but the right-hander walked the leadoff batter the first four innings and threw only 44 of his 87 pitches for strikes. Texas also scored on a wild pitch, and had another runner thrown out trying to do the same. "Youre either effectively wild or effectively lucky," Ventura said. Semien had a career-high four hits, including a bases-loaded trip in a strange sixth when Ross struck out the last two batters he faced on non-routine plays. Semien was hitting leadoff with Adam Eaton getting a couple of days off to rest some nagging leg issues. Ross final batter was Alejandro De Aza, who was called out on a third-strike check swing, right after Alexei Ramirez reached because of a wild pitch on the third strike. Ventura unsuccessfully challenged, claiming the ball hit De Aza or the bat. The ruling from umpires in New York was that the call on the field stood -- that the batter was out on a checked swing. De Aza said the ball hit both his hand and the bat. The ball appeared to change direction for some reason. "Im not even going to check (replay). I know what happened," De Aza said. "Im just in shockk, thats all I can say. [b]Zack Britton Jersey[/b]. ." Ventura got no real explanation on the final decision. "Its another one of those vague it just stands," he said. "Theyre saying they dont have any evidence that it hit the bat." Reliever Shawn Tolleson got the third consecutive strikeout in the inning before the Rangers opted to intentionally walk Danks. Semien then tripled off the base of the left-centre field wall to make it 8-2. "Thats a little fire, it gives you a little fire when you see that happen right in front of you," he said. "Im glad I got the result and we as a team got the result." Tyler Flowers, who had three hits, had a leadoff single in the fifth, then went to third on Semiens one-out grounder when third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff made a throwing error while trying to start a double play. Conor Gillaspie had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly before Abreu homered. Ross, a converted reliever, had a career high eight strikeouts with no walks in his 5 1-3 innings after not allowing an earned run his previous two starts. The lefty gave up seven hits and seven runs, four of them earned. "If you hit your location, and throwing strikes is never detrimental, just missed his location on a few of them," manager Ron Washington said. "And then we didnt make a play behind him. That opened things up for them." Ronald Belisario threw two scoreless innings before Andre Rienzo and Matt Lindstrom each worked an inning for Chicago. Flowers had a leadoff single in the third before Danks first homer. Josh Wilson drew a leadoff walk and scored on a sac fly by Shin-Soo Choo in the Texas third, which ended when Leonys Martin got tagged out trying to score on pitch that ricocheted off the backstop. Elvis Andrus walked to start the fourth, then went to third on a stolen base and errant throw by catcher Flowers before scoring on a wild pitch. NOTES: Rangers INF Luis Sardinas became the youngest player to appear in the majors this season when the 20-year-old made his major league debut. He came into the game at shortstop for Andrus and then got an infield single his first at-bat. ... Kouzmanoff was 0 for 3, ending his 10-game hitting streak to start his Rangers career. ' ' '