Bridges leads Suns over injury-depleted Pelicans 124-111
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PHOENIX (AP) — Mikal Bridges had his best offensive night of the season to help his Phoenix Suns win a basketball game, then rushed back to the locker room to watch his beloved Philadelphia Phillies finish off a Game 1 win in the World Series.
With two big victories in hand, it was time to break out the Phillies hat and Rhys Hoskins jersey for the postgame press conference.
"Great day," Bridges said.
Bridges led all scorers with his 27 points and Devin Booker added 16 to lead the Suns over the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans 124-111 on Friday.
"My teammates just keep finding me all the time," said Bridges, who grew up in Philadelphia and was a college star at Villanova. "Just playing hard, staying aggressive, that’s really it."
The Suns’ usual scoring stars were fairly quiet but they got a productive game from Bridges and their bench players. Torrey Craig finished with 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting, Cameron Payne added 12 points and Bismack Biyombo had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
The Suns scored 60 points in the paint and had a 47-33 rebounding edge.
"That is the difference in the game," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "Those are the things that we usually do, but they were better in those areas than we were."
Bridges shot 10 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
Jonas Valanciunas led the Pelicans with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Naji Marshall added 21 points. CJ McCollum scored 17 but shot just 6 of 19 from the field and missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
The Pelicans were missing a few of their best players because of injuries, including forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The Suns had their own injury issues: Starting center Deandre Ayton left in the first quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return, which was the reason Biyombo played 23 minutes.
The game was tight for much of the night but the Suns slowly pulled away in the second half. They used a 14-0 run late in the third quarter to take a 93-83 lead going into the final period.
Damion Lee made a 3-pointer to push the Phoenix advantage to 106-90. The Phoenix bench scored 54 points.
New Orleans jumped ahead 27-21 after the first quarter, taking advantage of the cold-shooting Suns, who made just 1 of 9 shots from 3-point range.
Phoenix pushed ahead 57-52 by halftime. Bridges led the Suns with 15 points while Craig had 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting off the bench. McCollum led the Pelicans with 14.
It was a matchup of two teams that met in the first round of the playoffs last season. The Pelicans gave the top-seeded Suns a much harder test than expected before eventually losing in six games.
Pelicans: Williamson (right knee hyperextension), Herb Jones (right knee hyperextension) and Ingram (concussion protocol) were all out. ... Hit a season-high 15 3-pointers.
Suns: Ayton hurt his ankle in the first quarter when he stepped on the foot of Valanciunas. He got up and walked to the bench, but a few minutes later walked back to the locker room. ... Coach Monty Williams said postgame that he didn’t have an update on Ayton’s injury, but expected to know more on Saturday.
Pelicans: Travel to face the Clippers on Sunday.
Suns: Host Houston on Sunday.