EditorsNote: Adds Ariza first name in Graf 7; hyphen tweaks
Caris LeVert continued his torrid start by scoring 26 points, and the Brooklyn Nets opened a four-game road trip with a 104-82 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
The Nets won consecutive games for the first time this season by countering a sluggish shooting performance with effective defense. Brooklyn shot 44.6 percent but allowed a season-low 34.6 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers two nights after forcing a league-high 27 in Sunday’s rout of Philadelphia.
LeVert reached 20-plus points for the seventh time by shooting 10-of-16. He helped the Nets clinch the win with a nifty up-and-under layup move on rookie big man Deandre Ayton that opened a 90-74 lead with 5:44 remaining.
LeVert became the first Net to score at least 20 points in seven of the first 11 games since Brook Lopez in 2012-13.
D’Angelo Russell added 15 points while Spencer Dinwiddie contributed 12 as the Nets recorded their third double-digit win of the season. Joe Harris added 11 while Jarrett Allen chipped in 10 as the Nets piled up 54 points in the paint.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 20 points but shot 6-of-21 from the floor. Ayton added 15 points and 13 rebounds but shot 6-of-17 as Phoenix turned in its worst shooting performance of the season and shot under 40 percent (34.6) for the third time.
The Nets led by as many as 14 before settling for a 52-42 halftime lead as the Suns briefly cut the lead under double digits by getting consecutive 3-pointers from rookie Mikal Bridges and Trevor Ariza in the final minute.
Five straight points by Ayton and a 3-pointer by Ariza put Phoenix within 63-58 with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the third. Brooklyn pulled ahead with an 11-2 run over the next two minutes and held a 76-66 lead into the fourth before LeVert helped finish it off.
—Field Level Media