Josh Okogie had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Mikal Bridges added 22 points and the shorthanded Phoenix Suns won their second straight game, beating the Indiana Pacers 112-107 on Saturday night.
Indiana had a chance to equalize his last possession, but Buddy Hield missed a rushed 3-pointer with two seconds left. The Pacers lost despite a triple-double from TJ McConnell, who had 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Phoenix and his ragtag lineup went into the fourth quarter 87-83. The Suns were again missing a large chunk of their star lineup, including the all-star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The Deandre Ayton launch center was out due to a non-COVID-19 illness.
Both teams struggled to score in the fourth quarter.
The Suns went for a 102-94 lead with 2:49 left, but the Pacers scored four points on possession when Phoenix’s Saben Lee was called out for a flagrant foul after elbowing Hield in the face. Hield hit both free throws and Bennedict Mathurin made a layup after the Pacers kept the ball for the obvious foul.
The Pacers eventually moved to 104-101, but Phoenix’s Ish Wainright responded with a corner three-pointer with 1:10 left to give the Suns a cushion.
The Suns won despite shooting 41.8% from the field. The Pacers shot just 37.5%.
Indiana was without its top scorer Tyrese Haliburton, who missed his sixth straight game. The Pacers have lost seven straight games.
The Suns led 59-57 at halftime. Bridges led the Suns with 14 points while Bismack Biyombo had 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Mathurin – who played in college in Arizona – scored 12 points for the Pacers.
Pacers: Haliburton wore the jersey of San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy while he was on the bench. Haliburton and Purdy both played in college at Iowa State.
Suns: Paul, Booker, Ayton, F. Cam Johnson, G. Cam Payne and G. Landry Shamet were all out. … honored the 1992-93 Suns team that won the Western Conference championship. They lost to the Bulls in six games in the NBA Finals. Several players were in attendance, including 11-time All-Star Charles Barkley, who was this season’s MVP. …thrown their 49th consecutive sell-out crowd.
Pacers: host Chicago on Tuesday night.
Suns: host Memphis on Sunday night.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
This story was originally published January 21, 2023 8:50 p.m.