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LeVert scores 26 to lift Nets past struggling Suns 104-82

PHOENIX (AP) Phoenix was the perfect place for the improving Brooklyn Nets to start a four-game trip, with the two top teams in the West still to come in Denver and Golden State.

The Nets beat the struggling Suns 104-82 Tuesday night and are 6-1 in Arizona since moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012.

Caris LeVert scored 26 points, D'Angelo Russell added 15 and the Nets won their third game in the past four, while the Suns have lost eight of nine.

Devin Booker led Phoenix with 20 points but made just 6 of 21 shots. Deandre Ayton had 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.

''We just tried to make every shot tough, every catch tough,'' LeVert said. ''We did a good job of that.''

Brooklyn held the Suns to a season low in points and field goal shooting at 34.6 percent.

''We're growing up in terms of our physicality on the defensive end,'' Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said.

The Suns went on a 9-0 run to turn a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to 63-58 difference on Trevor Ariza's corner 3 with 5:31 to play. The Nets regained a 14-point lead, 74-60, with Spencer Dinwiddie's 3 at the 2:18 mark.

''Not to look forward, but you look at the schedule and you know who you have next and this one is definitely a winnable game,'' Nets center Ed Davis said. ''It's a game we definitely needed to win and handled business.''

Phoenix never threatened in the fourth, the Suns' cold shooting helping the Nets remain in control. Davis' dunk made it 92-74 with 4:15 to play.

The Nets' strategy seemed to be to let the 7-foot-1 Ayton shoot mid-range shots rather than allow him to work inside the paint. It worked for much of the game, as the Suns' high-profile rookie made just 6 of 17 shots.

Both teams struggled to hit shots in the first quarter, with field goal percentages of less than 40 both ways.

The Nets, up two after one quarter, led by 14 during the second quarter. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's short turnaround bank shot made it 47-34 with 2:53 to go before halftime.

''Energy, effort wasn't there, mind wasn't there,'' Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov said.

Phoenix got back-to-back 3s from Mikal Bridges and Ariza to cut the lead to 50-42, and the Suns trailed by 10 at the half.

Suns backup center Richaun Holmes had season highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

TIP-INS

Nets: The Nets outscored the Suns 54-30 in points in the paint. ... G Jared Dudley returned to Phoenix for the first time since being traded in the offseason. He spent seven seasons over two stints with the Suns. ... F DeMarre Carroll has yet to play this season due to a right ankle injury.

Suns: F T.J. Warren returned after missing the team's last game with back spasms. ... Booker entered the game second in the NBA with an average of 9.8 points per game in the fourth quarter. He had four in the final 12 minutes. ... G Jamal Crawford moved into 29th place career in games played (1,271).

UNEXPECTED LETDOWN

The Suns, coming off a 102-100 win over Memphis on Sunday, had hoped that win was the start of a turnaround. But it didn't happen, at least right away, and the home team heard the boos toward the end of the game.

''It sucks, man,'' Booker said. ''We thought last game would be our step forward and we definitely took a step back tonight. We got blown out in front of our fans, so it's embarrassing.''

Kokoskov wasn't pleased with the performance. ''I know the fans love the Phoenix Suns, come here excited to watch these guys. They're not driving home happy,'' he said.

DUDLEY DOING RIGHT

Dudley, with 11 pro seasons to his credit, has started all 11 games for the Nets this season, and Atkinson said Dudley gets an ''A-plus'' for leadership. ''He's doing it in the locker room and he is also doing it with his play because he doesn't need the ball in his hands,'' Atkinson said. ''He's going to space the floor and he's an intelligent defender.''

UP NEXT

Nets: At Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Suns: Host the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

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Key Players
C. LeVert
22 SG
D. Booker
1 SG
34.7 Min. Per Game 34.7
25.7 Pts. Per Game 25.7
6.7 Ast. Per Game 6.7
3.7 Reb. Per Game 3.7
49.1 Field Goal % 44.2
47.9 Three Point % 45.7
79.2 Free Throw % 84.0
+ 2 D'Angelo Russell made jump shot 0:22
  Defensive rebound by Jarrett Allen 0:42
+ 2 Caris LeVert made dunk 0:55
  Bad pass turnover on Elie Okobo, stolen by Caris LeVert 0:57
+ 2 D'Angelo Russell made driving layup 1:11
  Defensive rebound by Spencer Dinwiddie 1:30
  Isaiah Canaan missed 2nd of 2 free throws 1:32
+ 1 Isaiah Canaan made 1st of 2 free throws 1:32
  Personal foul on D'Angelo Russell 1:32
+ 2 D'Angelo Russell made driving layup 1:42
  Defensive rebound by D'Angelo Russell 2:00
Team Stats
Points 104 82
Field Goals 41-92 (44.6%) 28-81 (34.6%)
3-Pointers 9-36 (25.0%) 9-25 (36.0%)
Free Throws 13-19 (68.4%) 17-20 (85.0%)
Total Rebounds 57 56
Offensive 13 9
Defensive 39 40
Team 5 7
Assists 22 16
Steals 9 4
Blocks 5 3
Turnovers 10 20
Fouls 22 20
Technicals 0 0
26 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST
15 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Nets 5-6 24282428104
home team logo Suns 2-8 2220241682
Team Stats
away team logo Nets 5-6 111.4 PPG 40.4 RPG 19.2 APG
home team logo Suns 2-8 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
C. LeVert SG 21.0 PPG 4.6 RPG 3.0 APG 49.3 FG%
D. Booker SG PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
C. LeVert SG 26 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
D. Booker SG 20 PTS 8 REB 2 AST
44.6 FG% 34.6
25.0 3PT FG% 36.0
68.4 FT% 85.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
C. LeVert 26 5 1 10/16 3/6 3/4 2 32 1 1 3 1 4 +9 32
D. Russell 15 6 3 6/15 1/6 2/2 3 26 2 0 0 1 5 +7 29
J. Harris 11 0 1 5/11 1/6 0/0 2 28 0 1 0 0 0 +23 14
J. Allen 10 9 5 4/7 0/1 2/2 2 24 1 1 1 2 7 +13 30
J. Dudley 5 2 1 2/7 1/5 0/0 4 24 0 0 2 0 2 +5 7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
C. LeVert 26 5 1 10/16 3/6 3/4 2 32 1 1 3 1 4 +9 32
D. Russell 15 6 3 6/15 1/6 2/2 3 26 2 0 0 1 5 +7 29
J. Harris 11 0 1 5/11 1/6 0/0 2 28 0 1 0 0 0 +23 14
J. Allen 10 9 5 4/7 0/1 2/2 2 24 1 1 1 2 7 +13 30
J. Dudley 5 2 1 2/7 1/5 0/0 4 24 0 0 2 0 2 +5 7
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
S. Dinwiddie 12 5 3 5/7 2/4 0/0 4 29 2 1 0 0 5 +20 26
E. Davis 9 12 0 4/7 0/0 1/5 3 23 1 0 0 4 8 +9 22
A. Crabbe 7 7 2 3/12 1/5 0/0 2 22 0 1 1 3 4 +12 18
R. Hollis-Jefferson 5 2 1 1/6 0/1 3/4 0 12 1 0 2 0 2 -1 8
S. Napier 4 4 5 1/4 0/2 2/2 0 15 1 0 1 2 2 +13 18
K. Faried - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Carroll - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Pinson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Graham - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Musa - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Kurucs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 104 52 22 41/92 9/36 13/19 22 235 9 5 10 13 39 +110 204
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Booker 20 8 2 6/21 2/8 6/6 4 36 1 0 4 3 5 -6 29
D. Ayton 15 13 3 6/17 0/0 3/3 2 31 0 0 4 2 11 -14 30
I. Canaan 13 3 4 3/8 2/4 5/6 3 36 1 0 3 0 3 -13 22
T. Ariza 8 7 1 3/4 2/2 0/1 3 31 0 1 2 0 7 -8 16
R. Anderson 0 2 2 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 22 0 0 2 0 2 -7 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Booker 20 8 2 6/21 2/8 6/6 4 36 1 0 4 3 5 -6 29
D. Ayton 15 13 3 6/17 0/0 3/3 2 31 0 0 4 2 11 -14 30
I. Canaan 13 3 4 3/8 2/4 5/6 3 36 1 0 3 0 3 -13 22
T. Ariza 8 7 1 3/4 2/2 0/1 3 31 0 1 2 0 7 -8 16
R. Anderson 0 2 2 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 22 0 0 2 0 2 -7 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
R. Holmes 13 10 0 6/7 0/0 1/2 3 17 1 2 2 4 6 -14 24
M. Bridges 6 1 1 2/7 2/5 0/0 1 27 0 0 0 0 1 -16 9
J. Jackson 4 1 1 1/3 0/1 2/2 0 6 0 0 2 0 1 -11 5
E. Okobo 3 1 2 1/5 1/3 0/0 1 13 0 0 1 0 1 -15 7
J. Crawford 0 0 0 0/3 0/1 0/0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 +1 0
T. Warren 0 3 0 0/5 0/0 0/0 2 13 1 0 0 0 3 -7 4
T. Daniels - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. King - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Bender - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Melton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 82 49 16 28/81 9/25 17/20 20 235 4 3 20 9 40 -110 150