No Brandon Knight? No Alex Len?
No problem for the Phoenix Suns — after a shaky start, that is.
With the Suns missing two of their starters due to ankle injuries, Eric Bledsoe and Brandan Wright stepped up to rally Phoenix past the lowly New York Knicks 102-89 at US Airways Center on Sunday.
Making up for the absence of Knight, who missed his second straight game, Bledsoe finished one rebound shy of a triple-double. He scored 21 points (on 8-of-15 shooting) and added 11 assists, both of which were game-highs.
Making his first start of the season for the Suns, Wright recorded his first double-double in a Phoenix uniform. He had 18 points (on 7-of-8 shooting) and 11 rebounds in place of Len, who suffered an ankle sprain in Friday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Suns (35-33) trailed for most of the first half but outscored the Knicks 21-5 at the end of the second quarter and early in the third quarter to take a 59-51 edge midway through the third.
Phoenix outscored the Knicks (13-53), who own the NBA’s worst record, 28-18 in the third quarter. Wright scored six points in the quarter, and the Suns dished out nine assists and committed just one turnover in the period.
Bledsoe scored eight points in the fourth quarter to help the Suns pull away in the final minutes.
Phoenix gained a game on the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference playoff chase. The Pelicans fell in double-overtime at home to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
The Suns kept pace with the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, both of whom won at home Sunday.
Here’s a closer look at how the Suns took care of business at home against the NBA’s worst team, by the numbers:
2 (part I)
Bledsoe doubled his amount of double-doubles against the Knicks this season. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the Suns’ 99-90 win in New York on Dec. 20.
2 (part II)
Wright’s double-double was his second of the season. He had a 14-point, 11-rebound game as a member of the Dallas Mavericks in November.
The Suns fell behind early in part due to nine first-half turnovers. But they turned it over just three times in the second half.
After sitting out the Suns’ previous two games, Gerald Green saw limited action Sunday. He scored five points on 2-of-6 shooting in six minutes off the bench.
The Suns were excellent on the boards Sunday, out-rebounding the Knicks by a plus-16 margin (51-35). Starting for the injured Knight, P.J. Tucker grabbed nine rebounds, including back-to-back offensive boards with less than two minutes to play to help the Suns ice the game.
Markieff Morris had a nice evening — 14 points, five rebounds and three steals — but he missed a large chunk of the second half due to foul trouble. In his absence, his brother Marcus stepped up, scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Phoenix overcame some poor free-throw shooting in the first half. The Suns, who are the NBA’s seventh-best team from the line (77.2 percent), went 4-of-10 from the stripe (40 percent) in the first two quarters before going 10-for-13 the rest of the way.