PHOENIX — Forward P.J. Tucker scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Phoenix Suns avoid a collapse and post a 106-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
Suns guard Goran Dragic had 20 points, and guard Isaiah Thomas scored 18. Forward Markieff Morris added 16 for the Suns, including a 15-footer with 23.5 seconds left to finally sealed the win.
The Suns (27-20) gave back almost all of a 22-point, second-quarter lead, then coughed up all but four points of an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter before finally sweeping the season series from the Wizards for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Forward Otto Porter Jr. had all 14 of his points in the second half for the Wizards, who were playing for the fourth time in five nights and were without forward Nene (sore right foot). Center Marcin Gortat had 14 points, and guard Bradley Beal had 13, and forward Kris Humphries finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Washington (31-16) fell to 6-15 when allowing an opponent to score 100 or more points this season. The Wizards are 25-1 when holding their foe to double digits.
On a night when Western playoff contenders Portland, Dallas, Oklahoma City and New Orleans all lost, the Suns gained some precious ground, but they had to work for it.
The first period had 10 lead changes in the opening seven minutes before the Suns closed the quarter on a 14-1 run. Markieff Morris scored eight straight points and guard Eric Bledsoe, forward Marcus Morris and Thomas all had 3-pointers in the final 2:35 to push Phoenix’s lead to 29-17.
Forward Brandan Wright picked up the scoring with nine of his 13 points in seven minutes to open the second period — all on layups and dunks. His jam off a Markieff Morris feed gave the Suns a 49-27 lead with 5:09 left in the half.
The Wizards rallied a bit before the break, and Beal’s 3-pointer with 13.9 seconds left shaved the deficit to 56-39 at intermission. Washington began the third quarter on an 18-6 run to pull within 62-57 on a layup by forward Paul Pierce with 6:39 left.
The Suns were able to stabilize with a 3-point play by Bledsoe and back-to-back 3-pointers from Thomas and Marcus Morris. A Dragic fastbreak layup with 30.6 seconds left restored the lead to 14 after three quarters.
Phoenix pushed the margin back to 18 on two Thomas free throws with 10:52 left in the game, but the Suns again couldn’t put Washington away. Center Kevin Seraphin had seven points during a 17-3 run, and a layup by guard Garrett Temple with 6:58 remaining cut the Suns’ advantage to 91-87.
The Wizards never got any closer.
NOTES: Wizards F Paul Pierce returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers with a sore left toe. Pierce is 21 points shy of tying Alex English (25,613) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. … Suns G Isaiah Thomas scored 20 or more points off the bench in his previous four games, averaging 24.5 points in that span. He scored 18 points Wednesday. The last Suns player with a five-game run of 20 points off the bench was Eddie Johnson in March 1989. … The Wizards were playing their fourth game in five nights, a run that came immediately after they played five times in seven nights. … Before Wednesday’s action, the Suns had the third-best record in the NBA (14-6) since Dec. 17, trailing only Atlanta (20-1) and Golden State (15-4).
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