The Mercury News

Ayton's 35 lead Suns to victory in Booker's return


Deandre Ayton matched his career high with 35 points, Devin Booker scored 19 in his first game since Christmas and the Phoenix Suns held off Cam Thomas and the Brooklyn Nets 116112 on Tuesday night.

The 21-year-old Thomas led a late charge and finished with 43 points, becoming the youngest player in NBA history with three straight 40-point games. He had 44 and a career-high 47 points in his previous two games.

Mikal Bridges had 17 of his 21 points in the second half and played a key role in the defensive effort that cooled off Thomas just long enough for the Suns to build a 12-point lead on the road with 2:25 remaining.

Booker missed the previous 21 games with a strained left groin. but had a strong stretch after the Suns led by just three midway through the fourth quarter. He scored six points and set up Ayton for another basket during a 13-4 run that pushed it to 109-97. KNICKS 102, MAGIC 98 >> Jalen Brunson scored 25 points and made the go-ahead basket with 1:13 left, Julius Randle had 22 points and 14 rebounds and New York won at Orlando.

Brunson's running bank shot put the Knicks up for good at 94-93. He then fed Jericho Sims for a dunk and a three-point lead.

The teams combined to shoot 10 free throw attempts in the final 7.7 seconds. The only miss was by Orlando's Paolo Banchero, who intentiona­lly tried to set up a tying basket with 2.3 seconds remaining.

PELICANS 116, HAWKS 107 >> Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, CJ McCollum added 21 and New Orleans defeated visiting Atlanta for its third straight victory.

Jonas Valanciuna­s, returning from a one-game absence because of a sore right quadriceps muscle, had 16 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. HEAT TRADE DEDMON TO SPURS >> The Spurs acquired Dewayne Dedmon and a second-round draft from the Miami Heat, with the teams finalizing the deal Tuesday.

The Spurs will receive Miami's second-round selection in 2028. The Heat got cash considerat­ions, plus more importantl­y, some newly opened financial flexibilit­y — since they're not taking any salary back — as well as a roster spot.

 ?? MARY ALTAFFER — AP ?? The Nets' Ben Simmons, left, drives against the Suns' Devin Booker during Tuesday's game.
MARY ALTAFFER — AP The Nets' Ben Simmons, left, drives against the Suns' Devin Booker during Tuesday's game.

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