Suns beat Jazz 121-100, tie up West
PHOENIX (AP) – Devin Booker scored 31 points, Mikal Bridges added 18 and the Phoenix Suns tied for first place in the Western Conference by beating Utah Jazz 121-100 on Friday night.
Two nights after clinching their first playoff spot in 11 years, the Suns kept rolling and never dragged past the opening minutes.
Booker shot 13 of 19 from the field, hitting three backing jumpers at the end of the third, causing the crowd to roar. Chris Paul added 12 points and nine assists. Deandre Ayton had 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Suns and Jazz are both 45-18. If they’re tied at the end of the season, Phoenix would claim the No.1 seed in the playoffs because they swept the three-game streak.
The Jazz were led by Bojan Bogdanovic, who scored 22 points. Utah have lost three of their last four games.
Utah were playing without their All-Star backcourt of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. Conley was absent with a tight hamstring, while Mitchell has a sprained ankle. Without them on the ground, Phoenix thrived.
The Suns took a 25-point lead midway through the second quarter when Cameron Payne’s 3-point scorer increased the score to 50-25. The Jazz managed to reduce the deficit to 68-52 at halftime.
Booker led the Suns with 16 before the break, while Bridges had 13. Bogdanovic had 15 for Jazz.
The Jazz shot 70-57 in the third quarter, but couldn’t come close. The Suns regained their lead to 96-72 early in the fourth and claimed the victory.
Jazz: Conley, Mitchell and center Udoka Azubuike (right ankle) were absent. Conley and Mitchell have combined to average around 43 points this season.
Suns: Forwards Jae Crowder (right ankle) and Abdel Nader (right knee) did not play due to injuries. … The Suns shot 68% from the field (17 of 25) in the first quarter. … The Suns bench combined to score 49 points. Payne had 11 points, and Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric each added eight.
Jazz: Come home to welcome the Raptors on Saturday.
Suns: Travel to face the thunder on Sunday.
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