Suns Scorch Heat, Become First Team To Clinch Playoff Spot

All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker returned from a stint on the COVID list to score 23 points, lifting the Suns to an impressive 111-90 road win over the Eastern Conference-leading Heat on Wednesday.

Devin Booker
Getty images

Booker had missed four games while in health and safety protocols, but said he felt fine and experienced no symptoms. He sure looked fine Wednesday, in all also compiling nine assists and eight rebounds.

The defending Western Conference champion Suns (53-13) have the best record in the NBA and became the first team to clinch a playoff berth.

Along with Booker’s strong performance, Phoenix received 21 points from Mikal Bridges and 19 points and 10 boards from Deandre Ayton, who went 9-of-10 from the field.

The Suns remain without star point guard Chris Paul — and as well as they played offensively, coach Monty Williams was mostly impressed with how they contained Miami’s usually high-powered attack.

“I told the guys it was one of the best defensive performances I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. “I’ve been around for a little bit.”

Phoenix avenged a 23-point loss to the Heat in January, and played with great determination.

“I’m sure they remembered that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They wanted to really make a statement tonight. They just outplayed us.”

Duncan Robinson scored 22 to pace the Heat (44-23), who lost for just the third time in their past 15 games. Jimmy Butler did not play due to a sinus infection.

“(The Suns) were first to the ball a lot,” Robinson said. “They were the aggressor. … Unacceptable.”

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