When Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe quietly posted career-high 40 points with 13 assists tonight in Toronto, nary a word passed among Suns fans on social media about it.
That just happens to be the first time a Phoenix Suns player has posted 40/13 in more than a decade, since early in the SSOL days, and only the third time it’s happened since 1983-84, as far back as basketball-reference.com database goes.
Our own Deadpoolio recalls the great Connie Hawkins putting up a similar line. Not sure about the other two instances.
Elias also has this nugget on Bledsoe’s game:
A different kind of triple-double for Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe scored 40 points, a career high, and was credited with 13 assists in the Suns’ 115-103 win at Toronto. Bledsoe shot 11-for-17 from the field and 14-for-14 from the line, in a performance typical of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Harden has seven games with at least 10 field goals, 10 free throws and 10 assists this season; Westbrook has five. Bledsoe and Damian Lillard are the only other NBA players with even one such game this season.
On December 7, 2006, reigning MVP Steve Nash posted 42/13 against the Nets in a dramatic double overtime 161-157 game. Nash took 25 shots and played 48 minutes.
Watch the highlights for a walk down memory lane.
Thirteen years before that, Kevin Johnson posted 42/17 against Denver in April, 1994. KJ scored 42 of the Suns 108 points that night on 25 shots, in 45 minutes of play.
Check out the short shorts!
Tonight, Bledsoe posted 40/13 against the Raptors on January 22, 2017. Bled needed only 17 shots to get his 40, and added 13 assists in just 42 minutes of play.
The Suns won all three of these games.
That’s THREE 40/13 games on points and assists in the franchise’s 49 year history.
So, yes, this is a big thing.
Maybe people are yawning over Bled’s 40/10 game because we see them every night, it seems, from James Harden and Russell Westbrook - the two players vying for MVP status halfway through this season.
James Harden has two this season, and five in his career. Russell Westbrook has one this season, and three in his career. Only eight players in NBA history have more than one such game. Now Bledsoe joins a 21-player group with one or more 40/13 games since the 1983-84 season (per ball-ref).
Watch Bledsoe’s scoring, and pay extra attention to his assists. He’s not a maestro, but you can see him developing more and more “vision” on the court to set up teammates and defenses.
Now here’s Bledsoe.
To his great credit, and keeping with his team-first mentality throughout his career, Bledsoe refused to take the bait to talk about himself.
Doug Haller of azcentral.com asked Bledsoe if he’s playing the best ball of his career.
Here’s Bledsoe’s response.
"I'm just trying to win, man,'' Bledsoe said after scoring a career-high 40 points and dishing 13 assists in the Suns' 115-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in front of 19,800 fans at the Air Canada Centre. "No matter if I'm playing good or not, everybody else is stepping up as well. I just got to keep playing the way I'm playing and leading my team."
Read more, from all the Suns, in Haller’s recap here.