Bench scoring inspires Suns to victory over Miami
The Phoenix Suns remain just 1.5 games back on the Utah Jazz at the top of the Western Conference after easing past the Heat on Tuesday night.
Miami lost the game despite restricting Devin Booker and & Chris Paul to a combined 17 points on 6 of 23 shooting.
The Suns were playing the second half of a back to back after beating the Rockets on Monday and they showed signs of tiredness early on.
Phoenix's star players were struggling, Devin Booker committing three of the teams six turnovers in the first quarter, as Miami built up a comfortable 12 point lead after one.
The Suns began the second quarter with their second unit on the floor and they showed that Phoenix are much more than just Devin Booker & Chris Paul, as they wrestled back the lead just five minutes into the second quarter.
The Suns ultimately led by six at the half off the back of an impressive eight point haul from Cam Johnson, who finished the game with 15 pts & 5 rebounds off the bench. HT: Miami 50-56 Suns.
The Phoenix starters once again struggled to begin the second half as Miami threatened to re-take the lead early in the third quarter.
Luckily for the Suns their bench retained their hot hands from the first half and were able to stretch the lead out to 11 heading into the final quarter of play.
The Suns bench outscored the Heat bench 65-24, with the team as a whole outscoring Miami by 28 points across the final three quarters of play.
Phoenix ultimately enjoyed a double digit lead for the entire fourth quarter with Booker & Ayton adding some points down the stretch to extend the lead but it was all about the scoring off the bench. Johnson, Payne, Craig & Saric all hitting double digits.
Defense was crucial once again for Phoenix, restricting the Heat to just 38% shooting from the field and 21% from three. DeAndre Ayton led the way on tough night for the Suns starting unit with 19 pts 13 rebs 2 stl & a block, while Cameron Payne had 14/5/7 off the bench.
Phoenix have now won three games in a row after the Clippers ended their seven game win streak last week. As for Miami they will be very disappointed with the manor of the defeat after keeping Booker & Paul quite throughout the game. Final Score in Phoenix: Heat 86-106 Suns.