Suns get big night from bench, cruise past Heat 106-86
Cam Payne banked a layup high off the glass with less than a second left to give the Suns an 83-72 lead heading into the fourth. It was part of a big night for the Suns' reserves, which was the biggest reason they were able to slowly pull away from the Heat in the second half.
Four bench players scored in double figures, including Cam Johnson (15 points), Payne (14), Torrey Craig (14) and Dario Saric (13). That offset a fairly quiet night for the Suns' All-Star backcourt of Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
Booker finished with 12 points and Paul had five points and nine assists.
The Suns have won 10 of their last 11 games, including three in a row. They improved to 39-15. The Heat fell to 28-26.
Phoenix was 13 of 42 from 3-point range (31%), one night after setting a franchise record with 25 long balls.
Miami had an even worse night from beyond the arc, making just 9 of 44 (20.5%). Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 18 points and Duncan Robinson added 15.
The Heat jumped out to a 34-26 lead at the end of the first quarter after leading by as many as 13. The Suns fought back quickly and Paul hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 42-all with 8:18 left in the second. Phoenix pushed ahead 56-50 by halftime.
Ayton led the Suns with 11 points and six rebounds before the break. Ariza and Dragic each scored 10 for the Heat.
Paul had two steals against the Heat, including one in the fourth quarter that was the 2,310th of his career. That puts him in a tie for No. 5 on the all-time list with Maurice Cheeks.
Paul still has a way to go for the top spot. That's held by John Stockton who had 3,265, which is nearly 600 more than anyone else in NBA history.
Butler was down for a couple minutes early in the fourth quarter when he landed on Jevon Carter's foot after taking a jumper and twisted his right ankle. He eventually returned to the game and finished 6 of 16 from the field. He also had eight assists.
Heat: F KZ Okpala (health and safety protocols) and G Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) didn't play.
Suns: F Abdel Nader missed his 13th straight game with right knee soreness. ... Jae Crowder scored five points one night after pouring in a season-high 26 points on a career-high eight 3-pointers.
Heat: Travel to face the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
Suns: Host the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
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