PHOENIX (AP) Eric Bledsoe took over in overtime, and all Kristaps Porzingis could do was sit and watch.
That was the difference in the Phoenix Suns’ 113-111 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
Bledsoe scored the go-ahead points on a driving, left-handed layup with 30 seconds to play, the last of eight straight points for the Suns point guard in OT.
”Bledsoe is Bledsoe on the offensive end,” Phoenix coach Earl Watson said. ”Twelve of 12 at the free-throw line, which is big-time, big-time baskets down the stretch, attacking the rim.”
Porzingis scored 34 points for New York, one shy of his career high, before fouling out with 1:34 left in OT.
Carmelo Anthony capped a 3-for-15 shooting night with an air ball that resulted in a 24-second clock violation with 5.9 seconds left.
Devin Booker’s two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining boosted the lead to 113-110, and the Suns, coming off an overtime home loss to New Orleans on Sunday night, held on from there.
New York’s Derrick Rose didn’t play in the second half due to back spasms.
The game was intense and physical with six technical fouls, four against Phoenix. P.J. Tucker set the tone with his defense on Anthony.
”They got under (our skin), we got under theirs,” Tucker said. ”It got real chippy. I love it when it gets like that.”
Anthony, though, said ”it was more me than anything they were doing.”
Kyle O’Quinn, who scored 22 points for New York, made the first free throw to cut the lead to 113-111 with 4 seconds left and purposely missed the second. Lance Thomas’ tip attempt in a crowd didn’t go, and Tucker grabbed the ball for Phoenix.
Tucker missed two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining, but it didn’t matter in a victory that spoiled the return to Phoenix for Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, who was fired as Suns coach 10 months ago.
Tyson Chandler grabbed a season-best 23 rebounds for Phoenix, giving him 44 in his last two games. Rookie Marquese Chriss had 14 points, 12 rebounds and a soaring block of Justin Holiday’s layup in overtime.
The Suns led by as many as 14 in the third quarter. Neither team scored in the final 1:46 of regulation.
”Our bench guys did a nice job to get us back in the fourth quarter,” Hornacek said, ”but we just couldn’t finish it.”
Four technical fouls and a flagrant-1 foul were called after a mini-rumble erupted in the third quarter. It began when Porzingis ran over Bledsoe, and then Chriss threw Porzingis to the floor. Porzingis got up and there was some shoving in a confrontation between the two teams.
Chriss drew a flagrant-1 foul and a technical. Technicals also were called on Bledsoe, Porzingis and Brandon Jennings.
A Knick fan behind the scorer’s table was tossed for his heated reaction, aimed at Chriss, to the commotion.
Watson didn’t mind the 19-year-old Chriss’ play at all.
”Marquese Chriss has to become our Draymond Green,” Watson said. ”And I think he gave you an example or a flash of what that can be, as far as getting a flagrant, protecting his teammate. I have no problems with that. We need a presence on the court that brings fight to our team that is kind of contagious.”
The incident seemed to get Porzingis going, too. The Knicks were glad to see the usually mild-mannered Latvian get so fired up.
”He needed it,” Anthony said. ”Sometime people try to take advantage of his kindness and I thought it was getting a little bit too much out there for him and he reacted. We had his back out there.”
Knicks: New York had started 2-0 on a road trip of at least five games for the first time since February of 2003. … Joakim Noah missed five consecutive free throws in the final 2:08 of the first half.
Suns: Booker made a huge block of Anthony’s shot in the third quarter, leading to Chandler’s score at the other end. … Alex Len sat out the game with a hip bruise. … Booker has 1,490 points in his first 100 NBA games. In Suns history, only Walter Davis, Alvan Adams and Armon Gilliam scored more in that span.
Knicks: The competition gets tougher when New York plays at Golden State on Thursday night.
Suns: Phoenix closes out a three-game homestand by facing San Antonio on Thursday night.