NBA regular season

Devin Booker erupts for 45 as Suns stay hot

Devin Booker erupts for 45 as Suns stay hot

SIZZLING. Phoenix star Devin Booker puts on a scoring show.

Photo from Phoenix Suns

The Suns keep their streak going with Devin Booker pumping in a season-high and Chris Paul dropping a double-double

Devin Booker unleashed a season-high 45 points on 17-of-24 shooting, and the Phoenix Suns held on for a 121-116 win over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night, March 31 (Thursday, April 1, Manila time).

Chris Paul contributed 19 points and 14 assists for Phoenix, which has won 4 games in a row and 7 of its past 8 to keep the No. 2 spot in the West at 33-14. 

Dario Saric also scored 16 points off the bench for the Suns.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine (sprained right ankle) did not play. He leads the team in scoring at 27.5 points per game.

Nikola Vucevic finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who dropped their fifth consecutive game. Thaddeus Young (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Lauri Markkanen (16 points, 10 rebounds) also notched double-doubles.

The Bulls pulled within 115-112 with 52.8 seconds remaining but could not get any closer. Phoenix firmly held its lead in the final minute with a driving layup by Booker and 4 free throws by Paul.

The Suns carried a 94-86 advantage into the 4th quarter.

Chicago trailed by as many as 16 points during the 3rd quarter after a jump shot by Mikal Bridges put Phoenix on top 81-65 with 7:40 remaining. The Bulls rallied with a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to 85-80 with 2:40 to play in the quarter.

The gap remained at 5 points when Cameron Johnson drilled a three-pointer to extend the Suns’ lead to 8 points with 24.4 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter.

Phoenix built a 67-58 lead heading into halftime. Booker had 22 points to lead all scorers at the break.

Chicago opened a seven-point advantage in the first 4 minutes. Markkanen had a dunk and a three-point play during the early outburst that put the Bulls ahead 13-6.

The Suns bounced back to lead by as many as 5 points late in the 1st quarter. A driving layup by Saric put Phoenix on top 39-34 with 3.8 seconds remaining in the period, but Denzel Valentine quickly answered by burying a three-pointer with 0.6 seconds to go for the Bulls.

By halftime, Phoenix had increased its lead to 9. Deandre Ayton received an alley-oop pass from Booker and converted with a dunk to cap a red-hot half for the Suns. –