NBA regular season

Devin Booker drops 58, Suns erase huge deficit to down Pelicans

Devin Booker drops 58, Suns erase huge deficit to down Pelicans

HOT HAND. Suns guard Devin Booker (left) looks to get past Pelicans forward Herbert Jones.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Suns storm back from 17 points down as Devin Booker unleashes a season-high performance

Devin Booker unloaded a season-high 58 points and Chris Paul canned a crucial three-pointer late as the Phoenix Suns rallied from 24 points down in the third quarter to outlast the visiting New Orleans Pelicans ,118-114, on Saturday, December 17 (Sunday, December 18, Manila time).

The Pelicans led by 17 points at the break but only by 5 after the third quarter when Booker and Paul engineered a 15-0 run midway through the period. Phoenix retook the lead for the first time since late in the opening quarter on Paul’s three-pointer with 5:24 to play.

New Orleans pulled to within 111-109 on a driving layup by Zion Williamson with 3:06 remaining. But Paul answered with a triple with the shot clock running down with 1:02 left and Josh Okogie clinched the game with two free throws with 19.9 seconds to play.

Paul added 18 points for Phoenix while Mikal Bridges hit for 15 and Bismack Biyombo had 11. The Suns have won two straight after five consecutive losses.

Williamson led the Pelicans with 30 points, with CJ McCollum scoring 27 (just three after halftime), Jonas Valanciunas adding 12 and Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado tallying 11 and 10, respectively. New Orleans has dropped three straight games.

The Suns played without Cameron Payne (foot) and Deandre Ayton (ankle), who each missed their second game in a row because of their injuries. New Orleans was missing Brandon Ingram (left great toe contusion).

The Pelicans led by 9 before a pair of free throws by Landry Shamet allowed Phoenix to pull within 34-27 after 12 minutes of play. New Orleans kept its foot on the accelerator through the second quarter behind McCollum’s 9 points in the period, leading by as many as 17 and taking a 63-46 advantage into the break.

McCollum scored 24 points before halftime to lead all scorers while Valanciunas had 10 points and 8 rebounds for the Pelicans. Booker paced the Suns with 22 points and Bridges had 10 in the half.

New Orleans expanded its lead to 83-59 after Herbert Jones’ three-pointer at the 7:14 mark of the third quarter before the Suns heated up. –

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