PHOENIX (AP) — Anthony Davis, one the NBA's most prolific scorers, could only watch a night of lousy offense.
In the end, Phoenix had just enough to escape with a 74-72 victory over Davis-less New Orleans, a tough loss in its bid to make the playoffs and a gasp of air for the Suns' chances.
The loss dropped New Orleans a game behind Oklahoma City for the eighth playoff spot in the West. Phoenix is 2½ behind Oklahoma City and 1½ behind the Pelicans.
Davis rolled his left ankle in the team's shootaround earlier in the day and his availability for the game at Golden State Friday night was uncertain.
Brandan Wright, starting in place of injured Alex Len (ankle), had 16 points and a career-high seven blocked shots for the Suns.
"He was there, blocking shots," teammate Eric Bledsoe said. "To do that and rebound and score points, too. He was big."
Eric Gordon scored 14 for the Pelicans. Gordon's 3-pointer cut the lead 73-72 with 46.9 seconds to go, but Tyreke Evans missed what would have been a game-tying 11-footer with 2.6 seconds to play.
Thursday night was a "Throwback Night" promotion for the Suns.
"It was a throwback night to the 30s, wasn't it?" Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said, "when the scores were 50-50."
It was the lowest-scoring game of the season for a Suns opponent and matched the Pelicans' lowest-scoring effort. And it tied a Suns franchise record for lowest scoring in a game that they won.
Of course, New Orleans was missing Davis and his 24.6 points per game. He'd averaged nearly 30 in his last 10 games.
Phoenix won despite shooting 35 percent, including 2-for-22 from 3-point range. Marcus Morris was 1-of-11 shooting, 0-for-7 on 3s, but did have a career-high 13 rebounds in a game where there were a lot of rebounds to be had.
Bledsoe was 2-for-15, 0-for-4 on 3s. Wright, working around the basket for hook shots or short passes to the rim, made 8 of 10 shots starting in place of injured Alex Len.
"I played great defense," Bledsoe said. "I had 11 rebounds. I helped my teammates on the boards. Steals, I had a bunch of steals, too (four). Sol if I'm not making shots, don't worry about it because I do so much to help my team win, that I'm going to do whatever."
His 11 rebounds matched his career best.
The Suns were without guard Brandon Knight for the fourth game with a sprained ankle.
The Pelicans had their own offensive woes without their dominant power forward, shooting just 37 percent.
The Suns led most of the game and were up by 11 twice early in the third quarter. But New Orleans finished the quarter with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 55-53.
The Pelicans went up 66-64 on Cole's 17-footer with 6 minutes to play. Markieff Morris made one of two free throws, then Marcus Morris found Wright with a lob pass and it was 69-66. Wright's rebound dunk made it 71-66 with 2:45 left, then Cole's 3-pointer cut it to 71-69 at 1:54, setting up the tight finish.
Markieff Morris' baseline jumper boosted the lead to 73-69. Gordon made his 3 and Marcus Morris missed his seventh 3-pointer of the night, giving New Orleans a chance to take the lead. But Alexis Ajinca missed inside. Evans missed his last shot, Tucker grabbed the rebound, made one of two free throws with 2.6 seconds to play and Evans couldn't get a shot off before the final buzzer.
"I'm not disappointed," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "I'm only disappointed that we didn't win, but everything else I'm fine with our guys. We didn't have a great offense tonight but we competed like heck."
Pelicans: Omer Asik had 14 rebounds before leaving the game in the third quarter with a strained calf. ... In the 10 games since he returned from a shoulder injury, Davis averaged 29.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and four blocked shots. ... Evans went down under the New Orleans basket in the second quarter with an apparent ankle injury but was able to walk off and was back in the game moments later.
Suns: The 34 points were a season-low for a Suns opponent in a half. ... Phoenix also was without reserve Marcus Thornton with a toe injury. ... The Morris twins were a combined 6-of-26 from the field. ... Tucker had 12 rebounds, Bledsoe 11.
Pelicans: At Golden State on Friday.
Suns: At Houston on Saturday.
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Posted on Fri, March 20, 2015
by BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer