Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Markieff Morris scored 17 points, Brandan Wright added 16 and the Phoenix Suns grinded out a 74-72 win over the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday in a battle of playoff hopefuls.
The Pelicans entered the game a half-game behind the Thunder for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Suns.
They found out before the contest they would be without star Anthony Davis, who rolled his left ankle during shootaround and had to sit out. Omer Asik suffered a calf injury as well during the game, but the Pelicans still had a shot to go ahead late, only to come up short.
Wright also finished with eight rebounds and seven blocks, while P.J. Tucker totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have won three of their last four.
Eric Gordon paced the Pelicans with 14 points, while Tyreke Evans was held to nine on 4-of-16 shooting. New Orleans lost for the second time in three games.
Despite the lack of depth, the Pelicans led 66-64 midway through the fourth quarter. They missed their next six shots, however, and the Suns' 7-0 run, capped by Wright's emphatic putback slam, gave Phoenix a 71-66 lead.
Norris Cole pulled the Pelicans within two with a 3-pointer, and after Morris hit a step-back jumper, Gordon hit a triple as well with 46.9 seconds to play.
New Orleans got the ball back with a chance to go ahead, but Evans' contested shot in the lane fell short.
The Pelicans shot an ugly 34.9 percent in the first half and trailed 43-34 at the break.
They scored the last points of the third quarter, however, to cut their deficit to 55-53, then went in front 57-55 on an Alexis Ajinca dunk in the opening minute of the fourth.
It was no more than a one-possession game for the next 10 minutes.
Davis' status for Friday's game at Golden State is up in the air ... Marcus Morris pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds for the Suns, who owned a 57-45 edge on the glass ... Phoenix lost the first of three matchups with New Orleans by a 110-106 score on Dec. 30 ... The teams will play again April 10 along the French Quarter.