NBA: Suns snap skid thanks to Devin Booker's big second half | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Suns snap skid thanks to Devin Booker’s big second half

/ 03:05 PM March 17, 2023

 Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Footprint Center on March 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns attempts a shot during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Footprint Center on March 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Chris Coduto/Getty Images/AFP

Devin Booker scored 16 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as the Phoenix Suns snapped a three-game losing skid with a 116-113 win over the visiting Orlando Magic on Thursday.

Cameron Payne added 18 points off the bench for Phoenix (38-32), which secured the win after Josh Okogie blocked Paolo Banchero’s 3-point shot with 3.1 seconds remaining. Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul had 16 points apiece, and Okogie chipped in 15.

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Markelle Fultz led Orlando (28-42) with a game-high 25 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. Banchero had 18 points and eight rebounds, Cole Anthony added 17 points, and Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner scored 16 apiece.

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Wagner had a season-high 10 rebounds for Orlando, which has dropped six of its last eight. The Magic shot 50 percent from the field but 28.6 percent (8 of 28) from 3-point range.

Phoenix improved to 2-3 since star Kevin Durant sprained his left ankle during pregame warmups on March 8. The 13-time All-Star will be re-evaluated in about two weeks.

Orlando trailed by 12 late in the third quarter before using a 9-0 run to tie the game at 101 with just under six minutes remaining.

After Carter hit a 3-pointer to cut the Suns’ lead to 112-111 with 1:32 left, Paul scored on the next possession to make it a three-point game. Following a Booker turnover, Fultz made two free throws with 8.8 seconds left.

Terrence Ross hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds left before Okogie blocked Banchero’s 3-pointer to seal the win and even the season series against Orlando at a game apiece.

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Booker was held to three points in the first half for Phoenix, which nonetheless took a 63-58 lead into the break. Payne scored 11 points to lead all scorers.

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Fultz had 10 points in the first half, but fouled Okogie on a half-court shot as time expired. The Suns entered the half with a five-point advantage after Okogie made all three free throws.

Orlando pulled within 75-74 with 5:49 left in the third quarter before Phoenix went on a 17-6 run to extend its lead to 12 with just under two minutes left in the period.

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TAGS: Devin Booker, NBA, Phoenix Suns

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