Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points, D’Angelo Russell had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Nets beat the weary Phoenix Suns, 111-103, on Sunday night at Barclays Center.
The Suns, with a short turnaround after a 149-146 triple-overtime loss in Washington a night earlier, dropped their second straight after a four-game winning streak.
The rookie Rodions Kurucs added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, who bounced back from a loss to Indiana on Friday to win for the eighth time in nine games.
“I still think the defense could be better,” Coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I think we’re in an O.K. place, not a great place.”
The rookie Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 18 rebounds for the Suns, shooting 13 of 16 from the field. Devin Booker had 25 points and nine assists, but was just 6 for 16 through three quarters while the Suns fell well behind, a night after he played 55 minutes.
The Suns arrived at their New York hotel after 1:30 a.m. and had a short turnaround with the game tipping off at the earlier-than-usual time of 6 p.m.
“It’s the N.B.A., we understand that,” Booker said. “I’d say a late game going into an early game I don’t quite understand. I think the other way around would make more sense, but I don’t make the schedule. They say computers do, so we’ll just go with that.”
The Suns had a brunch meeting on Sunday, but Coach Igor Kokoskov said they did not talk much basketball, thinking that the players were not ready to think about that and that he would save it all for a pregame discussion. He said that even the players who expressed being tired and sore wanted to play.
Before the game, Kokoskov played down the effect the late bedtime would have.
“Well, I’ve been up for the wrong reasons so many times,” he joked.
As for the players?
“No, it doesn’t affect,” the native of Serbia said. “It’s a new generation, they’re good. They play video stations all night long.”
The Suns, however, were a step slow in the first quarter, giving up 38 points. They steadied themselves in the second and trailed, 63-56, at halftime.
But it was not close much longer, as the Nets made five 3-pointers in the third quarter while Phoenix missed all five of its attempts.
Ayton’s basket had cut it to two with 8 minutes 26 seconds left in the period before Joe Harris and Russell made consecutive 3-pointers. Harris finished with three 3-pointers, making him the first player in team history to make three or more in six consecutive games
Kurucs made the next two baskets and Jared Dudley had another 3 to cap a 13-0 spurt and give the Nets a 79-64 lead. Russell hit another 3 for the final points of the quarter, making it 91-74. Phoenix made it look closer by intentionally fouling Ed Davis, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds but was just 1 for 7 from the free-throw line.
“Man, we started making winning plays,” Russell said. “To get separation, we had to get stops. It took a lot.”