NEW YORK (AP) — 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 116-112 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 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 with 2:25 to go.
Thomas rallied the Nets mostly from the free-throw line, and his intentional miss with 4.1 seconds remaining left the Suns with a 114-112 lead. He then fouled Ayton, who finished it off with two free throws after going 14 for 18 from the field and grabbing 15 rebounds.
Nic Claxton and T.J. Warren had 17 points each for the Nets, who lost on back-to-back nights after trading Kyrie Irving and fell to 5-9 without the injured Kevin Durant. They opted not to play Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, the players they acquired from Dallas in the trade for Irving.