Bledsoe Scores 30 in blowout against Nuggets, Final Score of 105-81
After a strong performance against a depleted Clippers team, The Suns looked to keep their momentum going against the Denver Nuggets. With Markieff Morris and Ronnie Price out with injuries, The Suns looked to their other role players to step up, especially John Leuer who got the start.
The Nuggets jumped to a quick 7-2 lead with a put back from Kenneth Faried and a 3 off the backboard from Emmanuel Mudiay, the Suns got going on a 17-0 run with an and 1 from Tyson Chandler and a couple of floaters from Eric Bledsoe. The quarter ended with with a score of 27-13. Bledsoe scored nine points in the quarter, adding in two rebounds and two steals. Leuer added in five points, including a 3 pointer off of a behind the back pass from Bledsoe. The Suns continued to play strong defense, and the Nuggets were only able to get a few wide open shots.
The second quarter started with Bledsoe on the bench, and his impact on offense sat down with him for a short time. Archie Goodwin got the first minutes in the guard rotation off the bench, and was able to spark the offense along with TJ Warren off the bench. Devin Booker was able to get some minutes at the end of the second quarter, and was able to get a corner three. He did miss a rotation on defense, but that along with off ball movement will improve as he gets more minutes. Mirza Teletovic was also able to find some rhythm in the second quarter after a botched lay up, going 2-3 from deep. The Suns were able to take a 32 point lead into the half, scoring 60 points off of 48.9% shooting, with 45.5% from deep and 84.6% from the free throw line. They also out rebounded the Nuggets 33-22, and totaled 10 assists to the Nuggets one.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Brandon Knight was able to get going, getting an and one, as well as an open three. Bledsoe continued to play aggressive play, and found his own 3 point shot in the third. The Suns kept up their aggressiveness, and finished the quarter up 88-54. Bledsoe scored 30 heading into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter of the night had the starters pulled for the Suns, with the bench unit asked to finish out the game. A lineup of Goodwin, Booker, Warren, Teletovich and Len played the first part of the fourth, and later Sonny Weems took Warren’s spot in the lineup. With about 4 and a half minutes left in the game, Len sat down and Cory Jefferson was able to get some garbage time minutes. The Suns bench was able to finish the game with a final score of 105-81.
Bledsoe once again had a strong scoring night, scoring 30 in 30 minutes and added seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. He single-handedly outscored the Nuggets starters by four points. The Suns were able to get other contributions in the starting unit with an 11 point, eight rebound, one block game by Chandler, 10 points from Knight, and seven from Leuer. Goodwin was able to contribute with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists in the absence on Ronnie Price. Teletovic added in 11 off the bench and Warren scored eight of his own. The Suns shot 44% from the field, 45.8% from deep, and 76.9% from the free throw line. They out rebounded the Nuggets 57-42, but turned the ball over 20 times compared to the Nugget’s 13 turnovers. The Suns improve to 5-4 on the year with this win, and will look to take this momentum into their next game against the Lakers on Monday.
Bledsoe continues to score with confidence, and is proving his case as one of the top point guards in the league. He will continue to be the main scoring option on the team.
The Suns finally got some good minutes out of their bench, with Goodwin, Warren, and Teletovich combining for 31 points. This production should be the norm, and with Price’s defense, should take some pressure off of Bledsoe and Knight throughout the season.
Leuer had a decent night, scoring seven points with five rebounds. Him and Teletovic filled in nicely for Markieff Morris, and will see if they can continue to produce if Morris is out for an extended period of time.
Booker was finally able to get minutes, but his non three jumpers were off tonight, and he missed a couple defensive rotations. As he continues to get minutes, he will start hitting those more often, and will get better on those rotations.
The lack of offense when Bledsoe was on the bench was disappointing. Knight was off throughout the night, with all 10 of his points coming in the third quarter. As the season continues, the lack of an efficient third scoring option continues to show. Bledsoe and Knight won’t average over 60 a night together, so someone will need to step up as the season continues. It could be Morris, Warren, or someone that isn’t on the team yet. This is something to watch as the season progresses.