PHOENIX (AP)Mikal Bridges scored a season-high 27 points, Devin Booker added 16 and the Phoenix Suns beat the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans 124-111 on Friday night.
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.
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.
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. CJ 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 13 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.
Pelicans: Travel to face the Clippers on Sunday.
Suns: Host Houston on Sunday.
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