ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Phoenix Suns haven’t come close to playing consistent playoff basketball since parting ways with Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline.
If they want to eventually make it to the postseason, they will need to have more nights like they had against the Orlando Magic.
Brandon Knight had 28 points and seven assists in his best game for Phoenix, and the Suns overcame a 15-point deficit to beat the Magic 105-100 on Wednesday.
Markief Morris added 23 points and six rebounds, and P.J. Tucker scored all 19 of his points in the second half to help Phoenix snap a two-game skid and improve to 4-10 in its last 14.
“It was a good win and we needed it, but it shouldn’t have been like it was,” Tucker said. “We should come out full of energy in a game like this when we’ve lost close games.”
The Suns outscored the Magic 34-17 in the third quarter to take control.
The Magic had the ball and a chance to tie with 5.2 seconds remaining, but Willie Green’s inbounds pass was intercepted at close range by Knight and the Phoenix newcomer made two free throws for the final margin.
Knight was playing his eighth game since joining the Suns in trade deadline deal with Milwaukee. Prior to Wednesday, the Suns had lost five of seven since their trade-deadline flurry that sent point guards Dragic to Miami and Thomas to Boston.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with a career-high 38 points. Nik Vucevic added 18 points, and Elfrid Payton had nine points, five steals and 10 assists.
Orlando has lost four straight after winning a season-high three in a row.
“We’ve got to find out a way to come out better in the second half,” Oladipo said. “We’ve got to put a whole game together if we want to win games.”
Phoenix took an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Orlando picked things up defensively to help trigger some offensive spurts, and got a 3-pointer and layup from Oladipo to trim it down to 97-94 with 1:15 to play.
Vucevic then came away with a steal on the Suns’ next possession and got it ahead to Oladipo for layup that made it 97-96.
Phoenix sprinted up the court and Markief Morris knocked down a 21-foot jumper.
Following a timeout, Vucevic was there to tip-in Oladipo’s miss to get the Magic to 99-98 with 31 seconds remaining.
The Suns missed on their next offensive touch, but were able to corral the rebound. Knight was fouled and made two free throws.
The Magic got it back to 101-100 with two free throws by Oladipo. Orlando fouled, and Eric Bledsoe calmly swished two free throws.
“Guys came out in the second half and really stepped it up, and when you play that way defensively it’s fun to watch,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Suns: Shot 46 percent (37 for 79) for the game after being held to just 38 percent in the first half. …Won despite being outscored 54-36 in the paint. … Finished 8 of 21 from the 3-point line.
Magic: F/C Dewayne Dedmon made his first start of the season Wednesday, replacing former Suns forward Channing Frye. …Rookie F Aaron Gordon returned to action after missing the past two games with a sprained right ankle.
Magic rookie G Devyn Marble is expected sit out four to six weeks after sustaining a detached retina in his left eye. General manager Rob Hennigan made the announcement Wednesday afternoon. Coach James Borrego said it’s unclear when the injury occurred, but that Marble returned from his most recent stint with the D-League’s Erie BayHawks of Feb. 21 complaining of blurriness in his eye. The retina injury was discovered during a visit to the doctor.
Suns: At Brooklyn on Friday night.
Magic: Hosts Sacramento on Friday night.
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This article was written by Kyle Hightower from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.