EditorsNote: fixes to “Nov. 10” in second graf; fixes to “Deandre” in seventh graf
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.
—Field Level Media