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Victor Oladipo puts up 26 as Heat add to Suns’ misery

Jan 6, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (left) and forward Mikal Bridges (right) defend against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (center) in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Oladipo scored a season-high 26 points off the bench to help the Miami Heat notch a 104-96 victory over the host Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

Bam Adebayo recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds and Jimmy Butler added 20 points and six assists for the Heat. Max Strus scored 19 points as Miami completed a sweep of the two-game season series.

Deandre Ayton had 23 points and 14 rebounds and Torrey Craig registered 17 points and nine boards for the Suns, who are mired in their second five-game losing streak of the season and have dropped 13 of their past 17.

Mikal Bridges had 15 points and seven assists, Duane Washington Jr. added 13 points and seven assists and Landry Shamet scored 11 points for Phoenix.

Suns star Devin Booker (groin) missed his sixth straight game, and Phoenix dropped to 2-9 without him this season.

Suns point guard Chris Paul exited in the second quarter because of right hip soreness and didn’t return. He had five points and one assist in 12 minutes.

Tyler Herro (back spasms) sat out for the Heat.

Kyle Lowry added 10 points for Miami, which shot 42.3 percent from the field and was 12 of 38 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range.

The Suns connected on 41.5 percent of their shots, including 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) from behind the arc.

Phoenix trimmed a 14-point deficit to 89-82 on Shamet’s 3-pointer with 6:17 left in the game.

However, Strus converted a four-point play 23 seconds later and added a trey with 4:52 remaining to push the margin right back to 14.

Phoenix later crept within six, but a turnover on an inbounds pass with 50.1 seconds left sabotaged the comeback attempt and Miami closed it out to finish a 3-2 road trip.

Butler scored 14 first-half points and Miami led 51-46 at the break.

Damion Lee started the third quarter for the Suns in place of Paul, and Heat point guard Lowry took advantage by scoring the first six points of the second half.

Oladipo drilled a 3-pointer to give the Heat a 68-54 advantage with 5:16 left in the quarter before the Suns scored 19 of the next 25 points to move within one with 39.9 seconds left.

Oladipo scored the final four points of the period as Miami took a 78-73 lead, and Adebayo made back-to-back baskets to start the fourth quarter.

Oladipo’s steal and fastbreak dunk increased the Heat’s lead to 89-75 with 7:45 remaining.

–Field Level Media