NBA: Suns ease past skidding Nets for 11th straight win | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Suns ease past skidding Nets for 11th straight win

/ 02:32 PM February 02, 2022
Booker Suns

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after a three-point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on February 01, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Devin Booker scored 35 points and the Phoenix Suns stretched their winning streak to 11 games with a 121-111 triumph over the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges had 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting to establish a season-high point total for the second straight game. Chris Paul contributed 20 points and 14 assists, and Cameron Johnson scored 16 points off the bench for the Suns, who boast an NBA-best 41-9 record that is also the top 50-game mark in franchise history.

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Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and James Harden added 22 points and 10 assists as Brooklyn’s season-worst losing streak reached five games. Harden returned after a two-game absence, having missed one contest due to a hamstring injury and the second because of a sprained hand.

Blake Griffin matched his season-high 17 points and Kessler Edwards had 13 for the Nets, who were without Kevin Durant (knee) for the eighth consecutive game.

Suns big man Deandre Ayton, initially ruled out by the team on Monday, had 12 points in his return from a seven-game absence caused by an ankle injury.

Phoenix shot 55.3 percent from the field, including 11 of 31 (35.5 percent) from 3-point range.

The Nets shot 49.4 percent and were 16 of 40 (40 percent) from behind the arc. Brooklyn allowed at least 100 points for the 26th straight contest.

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Brooklyn inched ahead 70-69 — its only lead of the second half — on a 3-pointer by Patty Mills with 7:17 remaining in the third quarter. Paul scored the next five points to ignite a 19-6 burst as the Suns took an eight-point lead with 2:27 left in the stanza.

Harden and Griffin answered with 3-pointers as the Nets cut the deficit in half. Booker made three free throws with 0.9 seconds left — one of them on a technical foul against Griffin — as Phoenix took a 91-82 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Irving’s 3-pointer pulled Brooklyn within 95-92 with 9:41 left. However, Bridges soon converted two three-point plays in a span of 27 seconds to make it 103-94 with 8:15 to go.

The Nets trailed by five midway through the quarter before Phoenix put the game away with an 11-2 burst. Booker drained a 3-pointer and Bridges hit two free throws to make it 114-102 with 3:49 left, and Ayton punctuated the outburst with a dunk with 3:14 remaining.

Booker scored 14 points in the opening quarter when the Suns shot 71.4 percent (15 of 21) from the field while taking a 39-29 lead. Phoenix led 65-58 at halftime.

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