The second unit gets it done for the Suns

Trying to glean too much from individual, single-game plus-minus stats can be a treacherous exercise in small sample size theater. But it's hard to look at the box score from Game 4 of the Lakers-Suns series and not conclude that the Phoenix bench was lethal. In a nine-point game, the five members of the second unit put up these integers:

  • Goran Dragic: +22

  • Leandro Barbosa: +17

  • Jared Dudley: +16

  • Louis Amundson: +17

  • Channing Frye: +10

As a measure of contrast, none of Phoenix's starters finished in the plus column.

The Suns are unusual in that Alvin Gentry doesn't install a traditional rotation. At the 12:00 mark of the second and fourth quarters, these five guys take the floor as a single unit. On Tuesday night, they dazzled. Dragic probed the Lakers' defense. Barbosa was decisive with his trigger. Dudley was his usual bundle of energy and heady intuition on both ends of the floor. Amudnson did yeoman's work up top screening for his guards (and snuck behind the Lakers' bigs for a couple buckets of his own). And Channing Frye? After enduring one of the most brutal stretches we've seen in recent years from a sharpshooter, Frye broke out of his slump with a vengeance.

Individual attributes aside, it's the collective spirit of this unit that propels them. A sampling of their work in Game 4: