The Los Angeles Clippers, playing their second game in as many nights, were short-handed in the backcourt Thursday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
With starters Chris Paul and J.J. Redick out with injuries, head coach Doc Rivers started a combo of his son, Austin, and veteran Pablo Prigioni.
The Phoenix Suns pounced on the opportunity.
Starting guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe combined for 63 points on 66 percent shooting in a 118-104 win over the Clippers in front of 17,204 fans.
Knight tied a career-high with 37 points and Bledsoe just missed out on his third career triple-double. Playing against his former team, Bledsoe scored 26 points, grabbed ten rebounds and dished out nine assists.
“He told me he was going for the quadruple-double,” head coach Jeff Hornacek joked. Bledsoe also had eight turnovers in the game.
“Our guards played great tonight,” Hornacek said. “Between Bled and Brandon, they shot the ball well. We needed them tonight with Markieff (Morris) getting hurt early. Those guys really picked us up.”
Morris managed to play only six minutes before leaving the game with what is being called a knee sprain.
The backcourt duo combined for 19 points in the first quarter to set the tone for the game. They’d post 22 in the second quarter, when the Suns took the lead for good. Phoenix would lead by as many as 25 points in the contest.
In his previous four games, Knight shot only 36 percent (25-of-69) from the field. He canned 14-of-22 field goal attempts Thursday, including six three-pointers, which also tied a career-high.
“For myself, it’s just about continuing to play. I put the work in every single day,” Knight said about breaking out of his slump. “I’ve been doing it for awhile now, it’ll come with time. I’m just trying to get back into the flow, trying to get back healthy and used to playing. It’ll come with time. As long as our team is winning, I’m happy.”
Knight was limited to just 11 games with the Suns last season after being acquired in a deadline deal in February.
Bledsoe, who had two triple-doubles last season, wasn’t concerned about the statistical milestone.
“Having a triple-double would have been fun, but at the end of the day it’s bigger than me having a triple-double,” he said. “It’s about the win.”
The Suns evened their record at 4-4 with the victory. They’ll host the Denver Nuggets Saturday night in downtown Phoenix.
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