WASHINGTON (AP) -- With the NBA regular season in the final stretch, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic are pushing the Phoenix Suns in the right direction, with a five-game winning streak keeping them in the Western Conference playoff chase.
John Wall's Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are headed the opposite way, losing four of their last five games to let teams behind them in the East inch closer.
After letting a 25-point lead dwindle to three Wednesday night, Bledsoe and Dragic got back to business and combined to finish with 48 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds in Phoenix's 99-93 victory over Washington.
"I'm glad," Dragic said, "that we didn't panic."
The surprising Suns moved into a tie with the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both clubs are 43-29 with 10 games remaining.
"We don't care what other people think," Dragic said. "Before the season, they were saying we're going to win 15 games."
The Suns have won seven of their last eight, coinciding with Bledsoe's return to the starting lineup after missing 33 games because of knee surgery. He had 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Dragic wound up with 25 points, six assists and seven rebounds.
"We were missing him those two months," Dragic said about his backcourt mate. "Now he's back and he looks good. It's much easier for me to play with him. He can handle the ball, I can handle the ball."
Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who used to play for the Suns, offered high praise for their pair of guards.
"These guys are hungry. They bring it every night. They compete every night. They know what they're playing for," Gortat said. "They have character, a lot of will to win the game."
Gortat was not nearly as complimentary about his current teammates, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference but now are only 1
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