Suns 106, Heat 86
Cam Payne was the man who got the curtain call on Tuesday night. The backup guard sheepishly grinned and waved to the screaming Phoenix Suns' fans as he trotted off the court postgame.
Usually, those cheers are reserved for All-Stars like Devin Booker or Chris Paul. On this night, the praise belonged to the backups.
Payne scored 14 points and dished seven assists to lead a Phoenix bench that poured in 65 points, and the Suns rolled to a victory over Miami.
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 game for several Suns' reserves, which was the biggest reason they were able to slowly pull away from the Heat in the second half.
Four backups scored in double figures, including Cam Johnson (15 points), Payne (14), Torrey Craig (14) and Dario Saric (13). Jevon Carter added nine points on three 3-pointers. That offset a fairly quiet night for Booker and Paul.
Booker finished with 12 points and Paul had five points and nine assists. Paul said he wasn't surprised the bench was able to pick up the slack.
“We have a team. Like a real team,” Paul said. “We lean on each other and trust each other.”
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.
“They’re a very good defense,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They did that similarly to us in Miami. Got us out of our normal flow, flattened us out a little bit. Things started to slow down, and we held on to the ball too much.”
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 three steals against the Heat, including two in the fourth quarter that pushed him to 2,311 for his career. That puts him fifth all-time. He passed Maurice Cheeks, who was fifth with 2,310.
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 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 forward KZ Okpala (health and safety protocols) and guard Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) didn't play.
Clippers 126, Pacers 115
Paul George continued to dominate his former team by scoring 36 points, leading Los Angeles past Indiana.
The Clippers have won six straight and 12 of 14 overall.
George also had seven rebounds and eight assists while improving to 4-0 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since being traded by the Pacers to Oklahoma City in July 2017.
Indiana was led by Malcolm Brogdon’s 29 points. Caris LeVert scored 26 as the Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Hawks 107, Raptors 103
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points, Clint Capela added 19 points and 21 rebounds, and Atlanta beat Toronto for its seventh win in eight games.
Kevin Huerter had 14 of his 17 points in the first half for Atlanta, and Brandon Goodwin added 18 points.
Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 30 points and rookie Malachi Flynn scored 22.
The Hawks played a second straight game without Trae Young after Young’s 42-point, nine-assist performance against Chicago on Friday night. Young has a left calf contusion.
Lakers 101, Hornets 93
Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points, and the Lakers held on to beat a Charlotte team missing five of its top six scorers.
Dennis Schroder added 19 points and Andre Drummond chipped in with 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who closed out a seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record to remain in fifth place in the Western Conference.
Devonte Graham led the Hornets with 19 points. Caleb Martin had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Jazz 106, Thunder 96
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points and Donovan Mitchell added 22 as Utah beat struggling Oklahoma City.
Luguentz Dort scored career-high 42 points and Moses Brown had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder, who have lost seven in a row and 10 of 11.
Rudy Gobert had 13 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks for Utah, which held the Thunder to 38.7% shooting.
Mike Conley, who rested the first half of the back-to-back when the Jazz had their 24-game home win streak snapped, had 15 points and a season-high 14 assists for league-leading Utah (41-14).
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