LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Devin Booker scored 35 points, and the Phoenix Suns rolled past the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 128-101 on Monday to improve to 6-0 in the restart and improve their playoff chances.
The Suns have surged in the Western Conference standings. They entered the day just 1 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis and a game behind ninth-place Portland in the race to qualify for a spot in the play-in series.
Phoenix center Deandre Ayton sat out the first quarter because he missed his coronavirus test on Sunday. He tested negative on Monday and was cleared. With Ayton out, Oklahoma City led 37-23 at the end of the first quarter. Ayton entered the game at the start of the second quarter, and Phoenix dominated the rest of the way. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds in just over 17 minutes.
Oklahoma City was without four of its top five scorers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (right calf bruise), Danilo Gallinari (left ankle), Dennis Schroder (birth of child) and Steven Adams (bruised left leg) sat out. Reserve center Nerlens Noel (right ankle; sprain) also did not play.
Rookie Darius Bazley had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.
The Suns rallied from 15 points down in the second quarter to take a 65-64 lead at halftime. Phoenix opened the second half on an 11-2 run and forced the Thunder to call a timeout. Booker drained a shot from near halfcourt as the shot clock wound down to give the Suns an 88-75 lead.
Thunder: Mike Muscala scored 11 points in just his second start of the season. … Abdel Nader scored 15 points in his seventh start of the season. … Bazley joined Russell Westbrook and James Harden as the only Thunder rookies to score at least 20 points in back-to-back games.
Suns: Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson each scored 18 points. … Cameron Payne, a former Thunder player, scored 14 points. … Shot 57 percent in the second quarter.
Thunder: Play the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Suns: Play the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
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