PHOENIX (AP) – 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 likeor Chris Paul. On this night, the praise belonged to the backups. Payne a Phoenix bench that poured in 65 points, and the Suns rolled to a 106-86 victory over the Miami Heat.
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 could slowlyfrom 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 reasonably 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 could 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 the 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, and Duncan Robinson added 15.
“They’re an excellent defense,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They did that similarly to us in Miami. Got us out of our normal flow and flattened us out a. Things started to slow down, and we held on to the ball too much.”
The Heat jumped out to a 34-26after 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. Ayton led the Suns with 11 . Ariza and Dragic each scored 10 for the Heat. Phoenix pushed ahead 56-50 by halftime.
Paul had three steals against the Heat, including two in the fourth quarter, pushing 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. That’s held by John Stockton, who had 3,265, nearly 600 more than in NBA history.
Butler was down for a few minutes early in the fourth quarter when he landed on Carter’s foot after taking a jumper and twisted his right ankle. He eventuallyand finished 6 of 16 from the field. He also had eight assists.
Heat: F KZ Okpala (health and) and G Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) didn’t play.
Suns: F Abdel Nader missed his 13thwith right knee soreness. … Jae Crowder 26 on a career-high eight 3-pointers.
Heat: Travel to face theon Wednesday.
Suns: Host the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Follow David Brandt at www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP.
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