MIAMI: Devin Booker scored 20 points and dished nine assists as the Phoenix Suns snapped a franchise-record, 17-game losing streak with a 124-121 win over the host Miami Heat on Monday night.
Booker, fouled by Josh Richardson with 17.3 seconds left, made two free throws to give Phoenix a 122-121 lead.
Miami’s Dwyane Wade hit the front rim on a difficult turnaround jumper on the next possession, and teammate Bam Adebayo barely missed a contested put-back. Phoenix’s Kelly Oubre Jr. got the rebound, was fouled and made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left.
Wade missed a 3-point attempt to tie the score, and Phoenix escaped with its first win since beating the Denver Nuggets on Jan 12.
The Heat have lost six straight home games and haven’t won in Miami since that same date, Jan 12, since they beat Memphis.
Heat centre Hassan Whiteside had 29 points and 11 rebounds. Two other players in Miami’s power rotation also produced big games, as Kelly Olynyk had a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Adebayo had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Even with the win, Phoenix has the NBA’s worst road record (5-28) and overall record (12-50).
Miami is 16-2 against the Suns since 2009, but Phoenix broke its eight-game road losing streak in its series against the Heat.
Guard Tyler Johnson, playing his sixth game since the Heat traded him to the Suns, scored 18 points. Johnson had scored a season-best 29 points in his previous game.
His former teammate, Wade, entered the game midway through the first quarter and blocked Johnson’s shot three seconds later. Johnson, though, walked away with the win.
The Heat were without three members of their rotation due to injuries: power forward James Johnson (left shoulder), wing Rodney McGruder (right knee) and point guard Justise Winslow (left knee). In addition, Heat forward Derrick Jones was out due to illness.
Miami players have missed 137 games this season due to injuries or illness.
Because of the current shortage of personnel, Miami gave 6-foot-8 wing Duncan Robinson his first NBA start on Monday. Robinson, a 24-year-old undrafted rookie, scored five points while playing just his eighth NBA game.
Miami, which led by as many as nine points early, settled for a 29-23 advantage after the first quarter.
The Heat stretched their lead to 13 points in the second quarter before heading to the break up 63-52.
Phoenix cut its deficit to 87-84 after three quarters, and the Suns took their first lead of the game on Jamal Crawford’s 3-pointer that put them up 92-91 with 10:15 left in the fourth.
There were several lead changes in the final minutes before the Suns got their long-awaited win.