ORLANDO – Devin Booker scored 35 points and the Phoenix Suns continued their surprising undefeated run through the NBA bubble, cruising to a 128-101 win over the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder.
Booker, who sat out the fourth quarter, notched his 90th career 30-point game and tied Suns legend Walter Davis for most 30-point games in franchise history. Mikal Bridges and rookie Cameron Johnson added 18 points each for the Suns (32-39), who have won all six seeding games in the bubble and remain in the thick of the race for a post-season berth.
Darius Bazley’s 22 points and 10 rebounds led the Thunder (43-27). Oklahoma City, which lost a 15-point lead in the first half, has already clinched a playoff spot and is 3-3 in the bubble.
Oklahoma City was without several regulars. Center Steven Adams and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were held out with leg bruises. Forward Danilo Gallinari rested his left ankle, center Nerlens Noel was out with a sprained ankle and guard Dennis Schroder remains away from the team for personal reasons.
Suns centre Deandre Ayton didn’t start the game because he missed his coronavirus test on Sunday, and had to be cleared Monday morning. He missed the first quarter.
The Thunder grabbed a 37-23 lead after one quarter after hitting 5-of-8 3-pointers.
A flagrant foul gave the Suns’ Cameron Payne three free throws, and trimmed the Thunder lead to 60-58 with 3:14 left in the first half. The Suns took their first lead of the game, 65-64, with 20 seconds left, with Jevon Carter getting a steal and feeding Ayton for a fast-break dunk.
Ayton’s hook shot down low gave the Suns a 76-66 lead with 9:32 left in the third quarter, and after Booker drilled a 3 from 40 feet away, the Suns grabbed a 13-point lead. Phoenix took a 98-81 lead into the final quarter and was never challenged in the fourth.