Phoenix (USA), May 7 (EFE) .- Bahamian center Deandre Ayton achieved 26 points, point guard Chris Paul contributed a double-double of 17 points with 11 assists and the Phoenix Suns remained in search of the record highest in the NBA after defeating the New York Knicks 128-105.
The Suns surprised the Knicks by taking a 90-88 lead in the fourth quarter after scoring four points in less than a second.
It was the Suns’ first lead since the first quarter and they would never give it up, scoring 38 points in the quarter and hitting 8 of 12 triples.
Forward Mikal Bridges hit a corner 3-pointer with 9:38 left to put the Suns up 101-93 and a frustrated Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau called for a timeout.
He tensed midway through the quarter when Knicks power forward Taj Gibson knocked Paul to the ground and was called for a flagrant foul.
Paul got up angrily and began taunting Thibodeau before Suns coach Monty Williams stepped onto the court and retired the point guard.
Later, power forward Julius Randle of New York was scored a technique after messing with forward Jae Crowder of Phoenix.
The incident turned out to be motivation for Paul, who quickly made two mid-range jump shots that helped lead the Suns to a comfortable victory.
Ayton contributed one of his best games of the year, scoring 10 of 14 shots from the field and finishing with a double-double after grabbing 15 rebounds.
Randle led New York with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds and the Canadian shooting guard-forward. RJ Barrett added 23 points.
The Suns and Knicks entered the game struggling to make the playoffs with less than two weeks left in the regular season.
Phoenix still has a chance to be the top seed in the Western Conference and the best record in the NBA. The Suns are one game away from the Jazz for the number one spot.
While the Knicks are trying to fend off the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
(c) EFE Agency