Devin Booker pours in 35 as Suns shoot down Rockets


Devin Booker recorded 35 points and seven rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns defeat the visiting Houston Rockets 110-105 on Thursday night in the first of consecutive games between the teams.

Kevin Durant added 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Phoenix won its second straight game. Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots and Royce O’Neale contributed 11 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.

Jalen Green made a season-high seven 3-pointers while scoring 34 points for the Rockets, who lost for the ninth time in the past 11 games. Fred VanVleet scored 21 points and Cam Whitmore added 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Houston.

The two teams meet again on Saturday in Phoenix.

The Suns shot 40.4 percent from the field, including 13 of 37 (35.1 percent) from 3-point range. Eric Gordon (groin) sat out his second straight game.

The Rockets made 33.3 percent of their attempts and were 11 of 45 (24.4 percent) from behind the arc.

Houston trailed by as many as 21 points but pulled within 90-84 on a 3-pointer by Jabari Smith Jr. with 6:57 remaining in the game.

Booker answered with a 3-pointer nine seconds later to start a 9-0 push that gave Phoenix a 15-point lead. The last four points came with 5:43 left after Alperen Sengun was called for a foul, complained vehemently and drew two technical fouls and an ejection.

Houston later was down 106-100 after a tip-in by Smith with 1:53 left. But the Rockets missed 3-pointers on their next two possessions before getting a dunk by Whitmore to creep within four with 18.4 seconds to go.

O’Neale and Durant made two free throws apiece to push the Suns’ lead to eight with 5.6 seconds left as Phoenix closed it out.

Booker outscored Houston by himself in the first quarter, putting up 20 on 8-of-10 shooting as the Suns led 33-17.

Phoenix led 42-21 after Bol Bol’s 22-footer with 9:19 left in the second quarter. The Rockets later used an 11-2 burst to cut their deficit to 57-49 with 2:09 left in the half before the Suns took a 64-53 lead into the break.

Booker had 26 points in the first half, while Green scored 21 for the Rockets.

The Suns took an 86-75 lead into the final stanza.