PHOENIX (Sporting Alert) — Point guard Eric Bledsoe flirted with a triple-double as the Phoenix Suns secured an overtime 117-113 victory over fellow Western Conference playoff rivals Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
Bledsoe collected 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the floor, 13 rebounds and nine assists and he was well supported by Markieff Morris, who added 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for the Suns at the US Airways Center.
“I just tried to show a little more enthusiasm,” Bledsoe told reporters. “My teammates, they feed off of that.
“That’s what my coaches have been telling me, that’s what my team has been telling me, just step up and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Brandon Knight finished with 15 points, Alex Len contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for Phoenix (31-28), which moved within 1 1/2 games of Oklahoma City for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Russell Westbrook, in the meantime recorded a triple-double of 39 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in an explosive night for the Thunder (32-26), who were without star forward Kevin Durant for the fourth straight game.
Enes Kanter finished with 18 points and six boards, Dion Waiters ended with 16 points and Serge Ibaka contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the defeat for OKC.
The Suns jumped out to an early 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter before both teams traded blows thereafter.
Markieff Morris completed a three-point play to give the Suns a 109-106 lead with 20 seconds left in regulation, but Westbrook answered back with an old fashion three-point play of his own to send the game into overtime.
Both clubs finished 109-109 at the end of 48 minutes, but the hosts outscored the travelers 8-4 in overtime to seal the victory.
“They are a good team, even without Durant,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “They’ve got players out there that can really play.
“I just give them all the credit. I thought they played a great game.”
Despite his big night in the second half and in overtime, Westbrook struggled from the floor after missing his first eight attempts and going just 12-of-38 from the field overall and 1-of-10 from 3-point range.
“I think I was actually shooting too much,” Westbrook admitted. “I think I got to do a better job of trusting my teammates more.
“I am not saying I don’t, but consistently trusting them regardless of what is going on, regardless of the time, score and possession. Just find a way to trust them and let them make some plays as well.”
P.J. Tucker scored 12 points and four rebounds and Marcus Morris chipped in with 11 points and five boards off the bench for Phoenix, which picked up its second straight victory and earned its first win in five overtime games this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder continue their road trip on Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Suns play hosts to struggling defending champions San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.