NBA: Devin Booker leads Kevin Durant-less Suns past Thunder
Devin Booker scored 44 points on 17-of-23 shooting to help the Phoenix Suns roll to a 132-101 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Kevin Durant was scheduled to make his home debut for Phoenix but slipped and injured his left ankle in pregame warmups.
Booker made up for Durant’s absence, sinking six 3-pointers while scoring 35 or more points for the fourth consecutive game.
Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 24 points and hit a season-high six 3-pointers to help the Suns win for the 16th time in 21 games. Phoenix’s Chris Paul recorded 18 points, nine assists and four steals, and Deandre Ayton had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Lindy Waters III had 23 points and six 3-pointers for the Thunder, who had a three-game winning streak end. Tre Mann scored 14 points, Ousmane Dieng added 12 and Josh Giddey tallied 10.
The Thunder played without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (injury management) and impressive rookie Jalen Williams (wrist).
Devin Booker is the first player in Suns history to drop 35+ in 4 straight games 🔥
Tonight: 44 PTS, 4 AST, 6 3PM, 74% FG pic.twitter.com/TPED9af1aY
— NBA (@NBA) March 9, 2023
Durant’s next opportunity to play in front of the home fans for the first time is Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.
Phoenix shot 52.1 percent from the field, including 20 of 43 (46.5 percent) from 3-point range, while beating Oklahoma City for the seventh time in the past eight meetings.
The Thunder connected on 37.5 percent of their attempts and were 15 of 43 (34.9 percent) from behind the arc.
Ross scored 13 points in the third quarter as Phoenix turned an eight-point halftime lead into a 104-80 advantage.
The Suns were 8 of 12 from 3-point range in the period with Ross knocking down 3 of 4. Paul sank two in a 59-second span to give Phoenix an 85-66 lead with 6:41 left in the quarter.
The Thunder moved within 14 on Mann’s basket with 2:47 left before Phoenix completed the quarter with a 12-2 push.
The Suns continued to thrive in the fourth quarter, and the lead went over 30 on Cameron Payne’s 15-foot jumper with 9:10 left. Booker followed with a jumper and a 3-pointer to make it a game-best 121-85 lead, and he exited a short time later with 7:26 to play.
Booker scored 17 first-quarter points as the Suns roared out to a 34-21 advantage. He had 30 at halftime.
Waters took over for Oklahoma City in the second quarter, scoring 18 of his 21 first-half points. The Thunder trailed 60-52 at the break.