Bookers Scores 37 Points in Suns Comeback Win Over Warriors
The Phoenix Suns hadn’t won at Oracle Arena since 2011, but that streak came to an end on Sunday night as the Suns tipped-off against the Golden State Warriors for the final time this season.
The Warriors took advantage of a slow start by the Suns as the two-time defending NBA champions took a 16-point lead in the first quarter and looked to be on their way to a dominating performance. But 16 must be a lucky number for the Suns as just last Monday they overcame a 16-point deficit to win against the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks.
Not even a week later, the Suns proved their resilience once again against the top team in the Western Conference.
The Suns outscored the Warriors 40-28 in the second quarter as they went into halftime down by just one. Despite a 12-0 run from the Suns in the third, the Warriors battled back to once again make it a one-point Warriors lead heading into the final quarter.
Devin Booker already had 20 points going into the fourth, but the 22-year-old was just getting started.
After a Stephen Curry three-pointer with six minutes remaining gave the Warriors a 94-93 lead, Booker began to take over. The Suns star pulled up from 18 feet to regain the lead for the Suns and quickly eliminated any momentum building on the Warriors side.
In fact, all the momentum seemed to shift to Booker himself. With free throws, three-pointers, layups and jumpers, Booker scored 13 straight points for the Suns and pushed their lead to eight with under four minutes left in the game.
While the Suns were in the driver’s seat throughout the final minutes, they still only held a five-point advantage with 17 seconds to go against one of the top shooting teams in the league. The Warriors placed the ball in the hands of Curry as he quickly looked to bring his team within one possession.
But the Suns defense was too much for the two-time MVP.
Tyler Johnson swarmed Curry causing him to lose control of the ball. Mikal Bridges joined the double-team as he reached in and swiped the ball away for his third steal of the game.
Bridges closed-out the game at the free throw line, knocking down both of his attempts and securing a 115-111 victory for the Suns.
“Can’t describe how much I’m proud of the guys,” Head Coach Igor Kokoškov said. “Guys responded, came ready to play… We were down 16 early in the game and showed character and didn’t lose poise, didn’t lose focus.”
This snapped an 18-game losing streak against the Warriors and gave the Suns their first win at Oracle since 2011; coincidently this was also the final time the Suns would play in Oakland with the Warriors moving across the bay to San Francisco next season.
Booker scored a game-high 37 points for his 11th 35-point game of the season. He is just one game shy of tying Suns Ring of Honor member Connie Hawkins for the most 35-point games in a season in franchise history.
“Playing in a place like this gets a little rowdy,” Booker said following the win. “They’re the defending champs. Really tough team to play against, especially here. So to come in here, start off the game down 16 points, keep fighting the whole time and grind out a win for us was really big for us.”
Booker finished just shy of a triple-double with 11 assists and eight rebounds to go along with his two steals for his seventh double-double of the season (matching his career total double-doubles entering this year).
Kelly Oubre Jr. played a huge role for the Suns in their third quarter run as he ended the game with 22 points and five rebounds, including shooting four-of-five from beyond the arc.
Deandre Ayton battled his way in the paint all night. The Big Fella in the middle scored 18 points with nine rebounds and four assists while also recording a block and a steal.
Bridges and Johnson both scored 10 points in the win, but their biggest impact came on the defensive end of the court. The duo seemed to be everywhere as they locked-down the Warriors and made critical stops on the defensive end down the stretch for the Suns.
The Suns have now won five of their last seven games, including victories over the top two teams in each conference.
“This team has changed in many ways where when were down and teams go on runs we come together more than we ever have and that’s been the success for us,” Booker said. “That’s why we’ve been able to pull out big wins of late. When teams go on runs, that’s when we need each other more than ever.”
The Suns return home as they gear-up to face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.