National Basketball Association
Phoenix 116, Indiana 96
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, November 18, 2016
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
#43 Dan Crawford, #32 Marat Kogut, #53 CJ Washington
INDIANAPOLIS -- Phoenix Suns reserve guard Brandon Knight didn't know why Paul George was resting for the Indiana Pacers Friday night, but he used the All-Star's absence to fire up his young team.
"I think that motivated us," Knight said after the Suns' 116-96 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "We didn't hear about him getting hurt. In the past, guys would sit down against us, just because, 'We'll get this win anyway.' I've seen that plenty of times, so we just planted a little bug in the young guys' ears, 'Look, this is why they're doing it,' even if that's not the case, just to find some motivation to play harder."
Knight led a 78-35 bench scoring advantage with a team-high 17 points as the Suns (4-9) won on the road for just the second time in eight games. George, a three-time All-Star who averages 21 points, rested a sore left ankle that had caused him to miss another home game six days ago. Both times, the Pacers (6-7) lost.
The visitors trailed only once, by one point for one third-quarter possession, before pulling away as Knight scored 12 points in the quarter. One by one, the other Suns reserves kept scoring. Forward Jared Dudley had 16, forward-center Alan Williams collected 15 points and 15 rebounds, guard Leandro Barbosa added 13 points and guard Tyler Ulis had 10.
"That's a great number," Williams said of the 78 bench points. "Everybody stays ready. In this league, you've got to be ready when your number is called and we came out with the win, which was great."
Suns coach Earl Watson suggested his young team had some added aggression that carried over from a physical practice the day before. The team was upset about losing 120-104 at Denver on Wednesday.
"We're so young, man," Watson said. "Every day is like a blank canvas for us. The good thing is we are the artists of that canvas. The mind-set in getting our guys to learn to bring it every night is the process, the journey for us. We recognize that. We embrace that. Our guys are tough, they're edgy."
The Suns had to rely more on their bench after starting guard Devin Booker exited with an ankle injury and starting forward T.J. Warren got sick. They were also without center Tyson Chandler, who is not on the trip for personal reasons.
Not only were the Pacers missing George, his replacement, C.J. Miles, didn't make it through the first quarter after suffering a left knee injury. Miles averages 14.1 points and entered with 30 3-pointers, which ranked sixth in the NBA and first among players who haven't started half of their team's games. The guard-forward's night ended with two missed shots and no points in 9:05 of playing time.
Center Myles Turner led the Pacers with 22 points and point guard Jeff Teague had 21.
"We have plenty of guys on this team that can make plays," Turner said. "It hurts not having our best player on the floor, but we'll be fine."
Indiana committed 18 turnovers, nine more than its season average and seven more than Phoenix.
"The game should fire you up," said Pacers coach Nate McMillan. "When they toss the ball up, you should be ready to go and tonight we weren't."
The Pacers wore Hickory Huskers uniforms as a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the classic basketball movie "Hoosiers." But after briefly taking that one-point lead in the third quarter, Indiana's inspired effort stalled and the hosts never led again.
"That team just outworked us," McMillan said of the Suns.
NOTES: Pacers F Paul George (left ankle sprain) played in Wednesday's win over Orlando, but the ankle injury suffered last week is still a problem. The other time he didn't play, the Pacers lost at home to Boston six days ago. G Rodney Stuckey (right hamstring strain) was active after missing the past 10 games. F Rakeem Christmas (assigned to NBA Developmental League) was also a scratch... Suns scratches were C Tyson Chandler (personal reasons), who is not with the team, and F Derrick Jones Jr. (assigned to NBDL). ... Suns G Devin Booker has averaged 27.3 points in road games.
Top Game Performances
Brandon Knight 17
Myles Turner 22
Jared Dudley 6
Jeff Teague 7
Alan Williams 15
Myles Turner 6
Devin Booker 4
||Free Throws Made
Jeff Teague 9
Tyler Ulis 4
Monta Ellis 2
Marquese Chriss 3
Myles Turner 2
Team Stats Summary
Indiana will play their next game on the road against Oklahoma City. The Pacers have a W/L % of .167 after a win and .714 after a loss.
Phoenix will play their next game on the road against Philadelphia. The Suns have a W/L % of .250 after a win and .333 after a loss.