Booker's big night powers Suns to 8th straight win
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Devin Booker had 43 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, Chris Paul scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and the Phoenix Suns extended their winning streak to eight with a 105-97 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Booker paced the Suns through three quarters, but didn’t get a shot in the fourth until he missed a runner with 3:45 to play. But Paul took over the offensive burden with his mid-range jumpers and drives to the basket.
The Jazz trailed 98-94 when Hassan Whiteside committed an offensive foul and a technical. Booker made two technical free throws around a jumper that beat the shot clock to give the Suns the cushion they needed.
Playing without Donovan Mitchell (concussion) and Rudy Gobert (left calf strain), the Jazz got a boost from Jordan Clarkson, who scored 16 of his team-high 26 points in the fourth quarter. Whiteside had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Mike Conley also scored 16 points and added 10 assists for the Jazz, who dropped their ninth game in the last 11.
The Suns were also missing two starters in Jae Crowder (wrist) and Deandre Ayton (ankle), but Bismack Biyombo had 12 points in his first start of the season.
Early on, the Suns simply outhustled and outran the Jazz, turning turnovers and missed shots into easy points in transition. Booker, with 21 points, outscored the Jazz by himself in the first quarter and the Suns blocked five shots on their way to a 39-18 lead after one period.
In a sudden and complete reversal, the Jazz outscored the Suns 30-11 in the second quarter as Clarkson scored 10 and Joe Ingles hit a fadeaway 3-pointer to bring the Jazz within 50-48 at the half.
Booker had 26 in the first half — a season high for the Suns — but they collectively went 5 for 17 in the second period.
It took 35 field goal attempts on Monday to score 33 points, but he was far more efficient this time around, going 16 for 28 and adding nine free throws. Booker became the Suns' career leader in games scoring 40 or more points with 16.
The Suns’ top-ranked defense frustrated the Jazz until Clarkson started hitting some perimeter shots.
The same teams played a tight one Monday with Phoenix prevailing over an extremely short-handed Jazz team, 115-109. Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles sat out in Phoenix, but returned for Wednesday’s rematch.
Suns: JaVale McGee (knee), Frank Kaminski III (knee) and Cameron Payne (wrist) were other primary Phoenix contributors out with injury. ... Booker got a technical foul in the second quarter. ... The Suns outscored the Jazz 22-3 on fast-break points and scored 22 points off Utah’s 14 turnovers.
Jazz: Bogdanovic, frustrated with a scoreless first quarter with a pair of turnovers, threw the splint that was protecting his left ring finger avulsion fracture but had it on again when he returned in the second quarter. ... Trent Forrest turned his ankle after making a twisting baseline jumper in the fourth quarter. ... The Jazz only led once in the game by two points.
Suns: Host Minnesota on Friday night.
Jazz: Visit Memphis on Friday night.
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