NBA regular season

Booker, Suns dominate short-handed Lakers

Booker, Suns dominate short-handed Lakers

IMPACTFUL. Devin Booker has been magnificent for the Suns since his return from a hamstring injury.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Suns pounce on a Lakers crew missing several key players, including star Anthony Davis, to pick up their fourth straight win

Devin Booker scored 24 points in his second game back from a hamstring injury as the visiting Phoenix Suns extended their latest winning streak to four games with a 108-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, December 21 (Wednesday, December 22, Manila time).

Deandre Ayton added 19 points with 11 rebounds and Mikal Bridges scored 14 points for the Suns, who recovered from a slow start to win for the 24th time in their last 26 games. Chris Paul had 11 points and 9 assists.

Prior to the Tuesday victory, Phoenix was just 1-2 on the road since its 18-game winning streak ended on December 3.

LeBron James scored 34 points for the Lakers, who lost their third consecutive game while working through COVID-19 issues and now have Anthony Davis sidelined due to a knee injury. Russell Westbrook contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds.

James injured his left ankle with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter when he came down on the right foot of Phoenix’s Jae Crowder. The Los Angeles star pounded his fist on the floor after the injury but remained in the game, though his mobility appeared compromised the rest of the way.

While the Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard were available again after being sidelined due to health and safety protocols, the team was without head coach Frank Vogel for a second consecutive game. David Fizdale was the acting head coach. Los Angeles also had Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, and Austin Reaves still in protocols.

It was a rough shooting night early for the Suns, who opened 0-of-9 from three-point range before Booker made a pair from deep in the final 1:41 of the first quarter. The Suns were just 3-of-22 from 3-point range through two quarters but still had a 54-52 lead at the break.

The Suns pushed their advantage to as many as 13 points in the third quarter and entered the final period with an 85-73 lead. The Lakers never got within single digits the rest of the way.

Cameron Johnson also scored 11 points for the Suns, while JaVale McGee had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Cameron Payne added 10 points. Phoenix finished 12-of-41 (29.3%) from long distance.

In his third game with the Lakers, veteran Isaiah Thomas scored just 3 points on 1-of-11 shooting. Horton-Tucker had just 3 points on 1-of-13 shooting in his return and Howard never got off the bench. –