PHOENIX (AP) — If Phoenix is the NBA's surprise team, Miles Plumlee is the most surprising Sun of all.
The 6-foot-11 center played a grand total of 55 minutes in 14 games as a rookie for Indiana last season, then came to Phoenix almost as a throw-in in the trade that sent Luis Scola to the Pacers.
Athletic and energetic, Plumlee has given the Suns an inside presence, and Phoenix — supposed to be among the NBA's worst teams in preseason forecasts — is 18-11 after beating the Philadelphia 76ers 115-101 Saturday night.
Plumlee scored a career-high 22 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.
"I'm happy with my progress," he said. "I feel better every game. I feel like I have more energy because I'm not as anxious on the court, I'm not wasting my energy. I just feel like I can play harder."
Plumlee hit the court hard trying to block a shot in the third quarter and required seven stitches to close a cut on his bearded chin before returning to the game.
"He is playing hard, making quick moves," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "When we get the ball inside to him, he is very confident with his moves. I think in the beginning he kind of predetermined his moves and what he wanted to do, but I think these last 10 games when he gets it in there he is seeing where the defense is and that's the shot he ends up taking."
Goran Dragic added 21 points and Eric Bledsoe 20 for the Suns, who have won nine of 11 but were coming off their worst loss of the season. Marcus Morris made three fourth-quarter 3-pointers and scored 18.
Thaddeus Young scored 30 points, Michael Carter-Williams 27 and Tony Wroten 22 for the 76ers, who lost their 13th road game in a row and have dropped nine of 10 overall.
Evan Turner, Philadelphia's leading scorer at 19.3 points per game, sat out to rest his sore right knee.
"We missed Evan, but 101 points is still a nice effort from some of our young kids tonight and from some veteran players," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "But defensively we just have a long way to go."
Phoenix lost 115-86 at Golden State on Friday night. The 76ers hadn't played in a week and had been in Arizona since Thursday.