Bledsoe makes up for shooting woes with clutch basket to help Suns sink slumping Hawks
Eric Bledsoe shot just 5-of-17 but had the biggest basket of the game for the Suns. AP

BRANDON Knight led the Phoenix bench in putting up a big lead late before Eric Bledsoe hit a crucial basket to avert a Suns collapse against the slumping Atlanta Hawks, 109-107, at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

Knight had 23 of the Suns’ 54 points from the second unit, which also saw Leandro Barbosa score six in an 11-0 run to give Phoenix a 94-84 lead with 5:22 left. But Dennis Schroder led a furious rally that cut the gap down to one, 96-95, at the 2:50 mark.

Bledsoe then stepped up from there, hitting the pivotal bank shot with 28.4 seconds remaining to bring the lead back up 104-99, as the Suns held off the Hawks until the final buzzer.

Jared Dudley and PJ Tucker each had 17 points for Phoenix, who snapped a two-game skid and improved to 6-13. Devin Booker added 13 markers, while Bledsoe shot just 5-of-17 and ended up with 12 points.

Atlanta suffered its fourth straight loss and fell to 10-9 despite Schroder’s career-high 31 points. Kent Bazemore added 22 while Tim Hardaway Jr. chipped in 21 markers off the bench. Dwight Howard finished with a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds.

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