To beat the halftime buzzer, Devin Booker’s 17-footer took the 3,000 fans to their feet. In the third period, his 3-pointer with two seconds left gave the socially distanced audience an even greater roar.
No heroics were required in the fourth due to shots like those.
On the bench, Booker took a seat and grew relaxed. There was this one over.
Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton added 19 and, on Monday night, the Phoenix Suns continued to roll with a 132-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the past few months, there’s been some discussion about whether Booker should win his second straight All-Star pick. In a commanding display against the Blazers, he definitely looked dignified.
Booker finished off the field with 12 out of 17 and hit both his 3-point attempts. At the free throw line, he was 8 for 8.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Nobody can debate Book’s not an All-Star, end of story.”
Mikal Bridges said forward: “You see what he does game in and game out: leads us to wins. He deserves it — that’s all I have to say.”
Phoenix has won nine of its last 10 games and put this one away with a quick flurry late in the third quarter. With two seconds left, Booker made his 3-pointer and then, after a rapid Portland turnover, Cam Johnson hit another 3 at the buzzer to hand a 100-71 lead to the Suns.
The 32-point win was the biggest margin of victory this season for the Suns.
“Everyone’s locked in,” Booker said.
Following a six-game winning streak, Portland has lost two games. During the season, the Suns improved to 20-10, while the Trail Blazers dropped to 18-12.
All night, Booker poured in points, scoring 17 as the Suns moved 32-26 ahead in the first period. By halftime, the sixth-year guard was up to 22 points, including a 17-footer off-balance at the buzzer that gave Phoenix a 63-54 lead.
With 16 points in the first half, Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers and ended with 24. Off the bench, Nassir Little added 18.
Up until the third quarter, when the Suns had a 37-17 lead, it was a reasonably close game.
“It went off track in the third quarter, which is an understatement,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
Stotts said that after the tough night, he was sure his team would get back on track.
“We always bounce back. That has been a trait of ours,” Stotts said. “You are going to have some bad losses and it is how you respond to them. That is what matters.”