Devin Booker scored a game-high 35 points as the Phoenix Suns remained unbeaten during the NBA’s restart with a 119-112 victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday night near Orlando.
Phoenix also got 18 points and 12 rebounds from Deandre Ayton, and a surprising 20 points in 26 minutes off the bench from Jevon Carter, who entered the game with a 4.6 scoring average.
Booker, who entered the night ranked 10th in the NBA with a 26.2 scoring average, made 15-of-26 shots from the floor, although he was 0-for-7 on 3-point attempts.
The Suns (31-39) are the only unbeaten team in the NBA restart as they try to avoid missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season.
Phoenix was without two of its top six scorers as Kelly Oubre and Aron Baynes missed the game due to knee injuries.
Miami (43-27) played without three of its top four scorers: Jimmy Butler (sore right foot), Goran Dragic (sprained left ankle) and Kendrick Nunn (unspecified reason).
Earlier Saturday, Nunn was named one of three finalists for NBA rookie of the year. The Heat said they will provide more information on Nunn’s absence Sunday.
With those three players out, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra shuffled his lineup, giving rookie guard Tyler Herro his seventh start of the season. Herro responded with 25 points, a career-high 10 assists and eight rebounds. It was the first double-double of his career, but the Heat still lost its second straight game.
Duncan Robinson also had 25 points for the Heat.
Miami center Bam Adebayo had 18 points, seven rebounds and nine assists on the same day he was announced as one of three finalists for the NBA’s most improved player.
Miami, thanks to 52.4-percent shooting and 12 points from Herro, led 32-25 after the first quarter. The Suns never led in that first quarter and trailed by as many as 11 points.
Phoenix took its first lead at 38-37 on Carter’s three-pointer with 8:14 left in the second, and the teams were tied 60-60 at halftime. Booker had 21 points in the first half
There were nine lead changes in the third quarter, and the Suns led 88-86 at the end of the period.
The Suns, who lead the NBA in free-throw percentage at 95 percent, went 19-for-20 from the line, which helped them clinch the game down the stretch.
–Field Level Media