Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns have enough left to beat Detroit Pistons

By Jerry Brown, The Sports Xchange
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2). UPI/Mark Goldman | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/d6e5d3ed9bb1a2748ed0fb16beaa53c0/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2). UPI/Mark Goldman | License Photo

PHOENIX -- Finally, the Phoenix Suns didn't need a last-second shot or overtime to win. But they did need a fourth-quarter rally.

Eric Bledsoe scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and eight during a decisive 13-1 run as the Suns kept the Detroit Pistons winless on the road this season with a 107-100 victory on Wednesday.


"My team needed me and that's what I gotta do," said Bledsoe, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Portland Trail Blazers here seven days ago. "They took the lead and the starters had to come back in and finish the game off, as we should do."

Bledsoe added 11 rebounds and eight assists, just missing a triple-double.

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Jared Dudley added 19 points off the bench for the Suns (3-6), who lost a tough game on the road to the Trail Blazers on Tuesday but had enough gas left to rebound on back-to-back nights.


"We've been losing these close games, so it's nice to get one, especially at home," said Dudley, who hit 6 of 9 shots and four 3-pointers in his second game since moving from starter to a bench role.

T.J. Warren had 18 points and Alex Len had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who had six players in double figures. Playing without center Tyson Chandler (death in the family), the Phoenix bench outscored the Pistons 41-21.

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"We never get rattled," Phoenix coach Earl Watson said of his young team. "When we lose, we just run out of time. This team really believes that."

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a season-high 27 points for the Pistons, who are 4-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. Andre Drummond had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit, which lost to the Los Angeles Clippers by 32 points on Monday but held in a lot longer this time despite shooting 36 percent.

"We gave the game away," Drummond said. "We came back in the fourth quarter with some strong plays. Then, after a timeout, we didn't come back with the energy we had to get us back in the game. It got them going and the rest is kind of history."


The Pistons used an early 12-2 run midway through the first quarter to break out and pushed their lead to 28-17 on Marcus Morris's jumper with 30 seconds left. Detroit's starters had all 28 points in the quarter, with Caldwell-Pope leading the way with nine.

But Dudley, who came into the game averaging 5.9 points, scored 15 of his 16 first-half points in the quarter and capped a 10-1 run with one of his three 3-pointers to turn an eight-point deficit into a 33-32 Phoenix lead with 8:08 left.

"For us, with Tyson out, we're playing five guards and forwards and spacing the floor," Dudley said. "And when you have veterans like myself, Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Knight and P.J. Tucker out there, we're moving the ball, sharing it and playing the right way."

Phoenix hit five 3-pointers in the quarter and led by as many as five before settling for a 54-51 lead at the break.

"The second quarter, I thought, was the key point in the game," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We had some absolutely horrendous defense. Frustrating game, very frustrating."


Morris, the former Sun who was booed before each of his free-throw attempts, led the Pistons with 11 first-half points and finished with 16 -- his 10th straight game in double figures.

The Suns stretched their lead to 79-70 late in the third period. But ex-Sun Jon Leuer scored nine of his 11 points during a 17-2 run that spilled into the fourth quarter, and a jumper by Morris gave the Pistons an 87-81 lead with 9:20 left.

Phoenix answered quickly, tying the game at 90 on a Bledsoe fadeaway jumper with 5:27 left and taking the lead for good when Dudley fed Len for a fast-break dunk 25 seconds later.

NOTES: Suns C Tyson Chandler missed his second straight game after the death of his mother on Tuesday. The news came within a few minutes of Suns vice president of player programs Mark West losing his father. "When we announced it to the team, you could just feel the pain sweep through the locker room," Suns coach Earl Watson said. "You could see tears in the guys' eyes. It's a reality check." ... At 20 years and seven days, Devin Booker became the youngest player in NBA history with back-to-back games of at least 38 points when he followed a 39-point game at New Orleans on Friday with a 39-point game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Bernard King previously held that distinction at 20 years, 335 days on Nov. 2-4, 1977. Booker is the first Suns player with back-to-back 38-point games since Tom Chambers (March 7-9, 1990). ... Andre Drummond has the most double-doubles in the NBA (119) since the beginning of the 2014-15 season. That's 17 more than runner-up Pau Gasol.


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