February 4, 2020 / 3:22 AM / 16 days ago

LeVert pours in 29 as Nets take down Suns

EditorsNote: fixes to “Nov. 10” in second graf; fixes to “Deandre” in seventh graf

Feb 3, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Phoenix Suns small forward Cameron Johnson (23) warms up before a game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Caris LeVert tied a career high with 29 points, and the Brooklyn Nets took control in the third quarter en route a 119-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night in New York.

LeVert produced his sixth 20-point game of the season and second since returning Jan. 4 from right thumb surgery on an injury he sustained in Phoenix on Nov. 10.

He matched his previous season high of 27 by hitting a 3-pointer with 8:07 remaining that gave Brooklyn a 103-82 lead. LeVert tied his career best set Nov. 2, 2018, against Houston by hitting an 11-foot fallaway jumper in the lane that made it 109-89 with 3:41 to go.

LeVert made 10 of 20 shots, hit all seven free-throws attempts and also handed out a season-high seven assists as the Nets won for the fourth time in six games. Brooklyn was playing without Kyrie Irving (sprained right knee), who is out for at least a week.

Brooklyn’s Joe Harris added 16 points after announcing he will defend his 3-point shootout title at All-Star weekend in Chicago. Taurean Prince added 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter when the Nets outscored Phoenix 35-21, shot 61.9 percent and held the Suns to 37.5 percent shooting.

Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 14 for the Nets, who shot 48.3 percent, hit 15 3-pointers and matched their largest margin of victory this season.

Deandre Ayton collected a double-double with 25 points and 17 rebounds for Phoenix, which lost for the sixth time in eight games. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 21 but Devin Booker shot 3 of 15 and matched a season low by finishing with 11 points, The Suns shot 43.3 percent.

The Nets seized control with a 22-4 run that spanned 3:49 and took an 81-62 lead on a 3-pointer by Prince with 5:50 left in the third. Prince hit three of Brooklyn’s four 3-pointers during the run. The Nets held a 90-73 lead entering the fourth after LeVert hit two free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining.

The first quarter featured nine lead changes and nine ties, and the Nets took a 35-31 lead on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by LeVert. Brooklyn took a pair of six-point leads in the second and settled for a 55-52 halftime lead after Booker hit a 15-foot fadeaway with 2.9 seconds left.

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