Suns bench paves way to ‘needed’ win behind Knight, Dudley
PHOENIX — 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 Howard added 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…