CLEVELAND (AP) Devin Booker scored 31 points, Chris Paul had 23 and 16 assists and the Phoenix Suns stayed in step with Utah atop the Western Conference by outlasting the under-manned Cleveland Cavaliers 134-118 in overtime on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win.
Mikal Bridges made two 3-pointers, dunked and had a block as Phoenix scored the first 15 points in OT to finally put away the Cavs.
Phoenix outscored Cleveland 20-4 in the extra five minutes.
The Suns let a late lead in regulation slip away to Cleveland, which was missing six players with injuries but battled one of the NBA’s teams for 50 minutes before running out of gas.
Cavs rookie Isaac Okoro scored a season-high 32 points and Collin Sexton 29 for Cleveland, which dropped its seventh straight.
Bridges added 22 points for the Suns, who are tied with the Jazz for the West’s best record.
Okoro muscled inside for a layup – on a play the Cavs ran for him out of a timeout – with 24.9 seconds left to tie it 114-all.
The Suns had one last chance in regulation, but Booker dribbled himself into a bad situation in the corner and had to force up a long shot at the horn that missed.
Booker, though, opened OT with a bucket and Bridges took it from there with his second 3-pointer putting the Suns ahead 129-114.
Earlier in the day, Cleveland signed veteran center Anderson Varejao to a 10-day contract, more of a ceremonial move to close his NBA career and celebrate 12 seasons with the Cavs.
Varejao was active but did not dress or play, disappointing some fans who had hoped to see the popular Brazilian get his first action for the Cavs since 2016.
The team played a video during a timeout in the first quarter to welcome back Varejao, who waved to the crowd.
Suns: F Jae Crowder missed his seventh game with a sprained right ankle. … Coach Monty Williams said it was ”cool” that the Cavs signed Varejao. He noted the center’s impact on the game, saying there are coaches who teach the ”Varejao screen” to their big men. … The Suns rank in the middle of the league in 3-point attempts (34.8 per game) and that’s fine with Williams. ”I’d rather make more 3s than just jack up 3s,” he said. … Cleveland was the only team Phoenix didn’t play last season as two games between the teams were scheduled after the season was suspended in March.
Cavaliers: Despite the Cavs falling short of their playoff goal and an assortment of problems, coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes he and his staff have made significant strides in their first full season. They fell a cultural shift is underway. ”It’s a place where people want to be and a place other people want to come,” he said. ”We’re not perfect, but we share the game and compete. We’re in Year 1 of something and the foundation has been laid.”
Suns: Continue a rough stretch at Atlanta on Wednesday. Seven of Phoenix’s last nine games are on the road.
Cavaliers: Host Portland on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers beat the Cavs by 19 on Feb. 12.
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