Knight scores 23, bench leads Suns to 109-107 win over HawksPosted: Updated:
Brandon Knight scored 23 points off the bench and Phoenix reserves combined for 54 as the Suns held off the slumping Atlanta Hawks 109-107 thanks to a key fourth-quarter run Wednesday night.
Eric Bledsoe's bank shot with 28.4 seconds left gave the Suns a 104-99 lead and all but sealed Atlanta's fourth consecutive defeat. Bledsoe, who shot 5 for 17 from the field, pounded the scorer's table in celebration.
Jared Dudley and P.J. Tucker added 17 points apiece for the Suns, who had lost four of five.
Leandro Barbosa made baskets on three straight possessions midway through the fourth quarter to give Phoenix an 89-84 advantage, part of an 11-0 run.
The Hawks cut it to 96-95 with 2:50 to play on Thabo Sefolosha's 17-footer. Dennis Schroder scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth.
Kent Bazemore had 22 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 and Dwight Howardadded 17 points with 14 rebounds for Atlanta.
The Suns turned a five-point deficit at the 5:12 mark of the first quarter into a 36-27 lead to start the second.
Knight scored 14 points in 5 minutes off the bench in the first quarter and Tucker had nine -- seven in the first 2 minutes of the game.
The Suns took a 47-33 lead, their largest of the first half, when Tucker scored and made a free throw in the second quarter. But the Hawks responded, going on a 10-0 run over the final 2:37 of the period. Hardaway hit two 3-pointers and flew in for a dunk during that stretch, finishing the first half with 12 points.
Atlanta took a brief one-point lead early in the third, but the Suns went ahead 66-61 on Devin Booker's 3-pointer with 5:33 to go. The teams traded leads for the next 4 minutes before the Suns ended the quarter with a 77-75 lead.
Hawks: F Paul Millsap was held out with a left hip injury, and F/C Tiago Splitter(right calf strain) also did not play. Mike Muscala started in Millsap's place. ... The Hawks shot 10 free throws to 25 for the Suns. ... Hardaway was knocked into the scorer's table chasing down a loose ball in the fourth quarter but stayed in the game.
Suns: F T.J. Warren (minor head injury) did not play and has missed the past six games. ... Dudley crashed to the floor in front of the Suns' bench after a hard foul on Sefolosha in the third quarter, but got up and made two of three free throws right afterward.
Bledsoe had earlier expressed that it's his fault the Suns are not winning much, despite his most recent stretch of five games before Wednesday in which he averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and 6.6 assists. Phoenix had one win in that span. "Bledsoe takes a lot of things to heart," coach Earl Watson said. "He's very purposeful with his words. ... It's going to be transparent. We understand Bled's purpose, and his commitment to this team is second to none."
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer is from Holbrook, Arizona, a town of around 5,000 about 185 miles northeast of Phoenix. He wasn't expecting a big turnout of townsfolk Wednesday night, citing a midweek game after a holiday and no bus service as the reasons.
Hawks: Host the Detroit Pistons on Friday night and play three of the next four at home.
Suns: At the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, the first of a two-game road trip.
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