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Booker, Suns down Kings as Durant cheers from bench

Feb 15, 2023

CHEERLEADER. Suns forward Kevin Durant looks on as teammates Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton approach the bench.

Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Devin Booker and the Suns put on a stellar shooting display in front of their injured newcomer Kevin Durant

Devin Booker went for a team-high 32 points, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul contributed double-doubles, and the Phoenix Suns, with injured newcomer Kevin Durant cheering them on from the bench, outlasted the visiting Sacramento Kings, 120-109, on Tuesday night, February 14 (Wednesday, February 15, Manila time).

With TJ Warren making his return to the lineup after being acquired along with Durant from the Brooklyn Nets last week, the Suns put on a stellar shooting display against the Kings, hitting 56.8% of their shots en route to a second straight win.

De’Aaron Fox had a game-high 35 points and Domantas Sabonis recorded a double-double for the Kings, who at 32-25 will retain third place in the Western Conference at least through the All-Star break after finishing their first-half schedule with a second loss in their last three games.

Seeking revenge after an earlier home loss to the Suns, Sacramento led by as many as six points early on and hung within arm’s length into the final two minutes of the contest.

But Josh Okogie and Paul hit key jumpers within the final 1:46 to keep the Kings at bay, helping the Suns pull away.

Booker’s 32 points came on 13-for-20 shooting.

Ayton’s 29th double-double of the season consisted of 29 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while Paul had 17 points to complement a season-high 19 assists.

Starting in a spot ticketed for Durant, Okogie added 19 points, making 8 of his 13 shots and three of his four three-point attempts for Phoenix, which wraps up its pre-All-Star-break schedule against the visiting Clippers on Thursday.

Durant is scheduled to be out through the break with a sprained right MCL. Warren had 5 points and 2 rebounds in seven minutes off the bench.

The Suns made only seven three-pointers in the contest, half the Sacramento total. The Kings got 4 apiece from Fox, who shot 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, and Kevin Huerter, who went 4-for-9 from long distance on an 18-point night.

Sabonis racked up his league-leading 45th double-double of the season with 24 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. He also found time for a team-high 7 assists.

Harrison Barnes and Terence Davis chipped in with 11 points apiece for the Kings. – Rappler.com

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