ERIC Bledsoe took charge late and knocked down the go-ahead basket in overtime as the Phoenix Suns spoiled a sterling outing from Kristaps Porzingis and escaped a nail-biter over the New York Knicks, 113-111, at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time.)
Porzingis hit a triple to put the Knicks up 108-105 in the extra period before fouling out, and Eric Bledsoe took over with four straight points for the Suns to retake the lead with less than a minute left. Carmelo Anthony and Bledsoe traded buckets in the ensuing possessions, then Devin Booker put the Suns up by three with two clutch free throws, 113-110.
Lance Thomas failed to convert a putback that could have forced another overtime period after Kyle O’Quinn split his charities, then PJ Tucker gathered the miss and sealed the win for Phoenix.
Bledsoe had his third straight 30-point outing with 31 points to go with eight assists and six rebounds to lead Phoenix to a 7-17 card. Five other Suns players scored in double figures with Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight scoring 14 apiece. Tucker and Tyson Chandler added 13 each with the Phoenix center grabbing 23 boards. Booker struggled with a 3-of-16 clip from the field but still ended up with 12 markers.
Anthony and Derrick Rose got off to a cold start for, combining for 1-of-11 shooting in the first half, as Phoenix built a lead as big as 14 midway through the second quarter before New York closed the gap to eight, 54-46, at the break.
The Suns capitalized on the Knicks, who played without Rose in the second half due to back spasms, leading again by 14 near the end of the third quarter, 85-71. But a 15-2 start in the fourth put the Knicks up 88-87 with more than seven minutes to go in the period. Porzingis had nine while reserve guard Justin Holiday poured six in the Knicks rally.
After a late Knicks charge put them up by six, 101-95, at the 2:57 mark of the fourth quarter, the Suns stormed back with crucial free throws to tie the game at 101 with 1:46 remaining. But both teams traded clunkers until the fourth quarter buzzer as the game went into overtime.
Porzingis was a point-shy of matching his career-high as he finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the Knicks, who fell to 14-11. O’Quinn chipped in 22 markers and 14 rebounds off the bench, while Courtney Lee added 14. Anthony shot 3-of-15 for the game and ended up with 13 points.
Rose played only 10 minutes with just two points to show as he missed all his six attempts.