NBA-leading Suns rout Hornets 137-106 in Booker’s return

December 20, 2021 GMT
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is pressured by Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is pressured by Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is pressured by Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is pressured by Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is pressured by Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker had 16 points in his return to Phoenix’s lineup and the NBA-leading Suns set a season-scoring high in a 137-106 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night.

After missing seven games because of a hamstring injury, Booker played 26 minutes, and sat out the fourth quarter with Phoenix well ahead. The Suns improved to 24-5, moving a half-game ahead of Golden State.

Phoenix had nine players score in double figures. Javale McGee had 19 points in 16 minutes off the bench, and Mikal Bridges also scored 16 points. Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Landry Shamet also scored 15 points, Jae Crowder and Chris Paul had 14 each, Cam Johnson 12 and Cameron Payne 11.

Phoenix was 20 of 41 on 3-pointers and shot 56.8% overall.

Miles Bridges had 26 points for Charlotte, and former Sun Kelly Oubre Jr. had 16. LaMelo Ball had nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but was 2 of 12 from the field and 1 of 6 from behind the arc.

BULLS 115, LAKERS 110

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CHICAG (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points after missing two weeks in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, leading Chicago past Los Angeles.

Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Lonzo Ball added 19 points. Chicago played for the first time since Dec. 11 after two games were postponed.

LeBron James had 31 points for Los Angeles. Although the Lakers haven’t had any games postponed, they currently have six players — Kent Bazemore, Avery Bradley, Talen Horton-Tucker. Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves — and coach Frank Vogel in the health and safety protocols. Assistant David Fizdale directed the team against the Bulls.

TIMBERWOLVES 111, MAVERICKS 105

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points, D’Angelo Russell added 22 and Minnesota beat Dallas in a matchup between short-handed teams dealing with recent COVID-19 issues.

Dallas, already without star guard Luka Doncic, placed two players in the health and safety protocols the past two days. Minnesota added Josh Okogie to the protocols and Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince each missed their second game while in the protocols.

The Mavericks then lost forward Kristaps Porzingis in the third quarter with right foot soreness. Porzingis finished with 13 points and three rebounds.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 28 points for Dallas.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, GRIZZLIES 100

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 32 points, Norman Powell added 28 and Portland beat Memphis to snap the Grizzlies’ five-game winning streak.

Dillon Brooks scored a career-high 37 points for Memphis. The Grizzlies lost for the second time in their last 12 games.

Powell scored 20 in the second half to give the Trail Blazers their second straight victory after they snapped a seven-game losing streak with a home victory over Charlotte on Friday night.

Portland took the lead, 94-91, on a four-point play by Lillard with 4:02 left and reclaimed the advantage, 97-95, on a 3-pointer by Powell three minutes later. The Grizzlies had a chance to tie at 103 with 5.3 seconds to go, but Desmond Bane’s 3-pointer rimmed out.

PISTONS 100, HEAT 90

DETROIT (AP) — Saddiq Bey scored 26 points and Detroit beat Miami to snap their losing streak at a franchise record-tying 14 games.

Hamidou Diallo had 15 points and seven rebounds for Detroit. The Pistons improved to 5-24, winning for the first time since Nov. 17 against Indiana.

Max Strus led short-handed Miami with 24 points.

KINGS 121, SPURS 114

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Buddy Hield scored 18 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and made seven 3-pointers to help Sacramento beat San Antonio.

Tyrese Haliburton added 27 points and matched his career high with 11 assists, and Damian Jones scored a career-high 23 points. The Kings won for the second time in six games.

Dejounte Murray had 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for San Antonio.