(AFP) – Devin Booker poured in a game-high 30 points before sitting out the final quarter as the National Basketball Association-leading Phoenix Suns routed the last place Detroit Pistons 135-108 on Sunday (Jan 17).
Booker played 30 minutes, making 11 of 18 field-goal attempts while teammates Cameron Payne and JaVale McGee each finished with 20 points in front of a crowd of 18,100 at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.
“I was just hitting shots and the guys were getting me the ball in good places,” said Michigan native Booker.
“I never got to see the Pistons play in person very often – I grew up about two hours west of here – so I love coming here to play what was my favourite team growing up.”
Booker invited 40-50 family and friends to the game on Sunday.
“Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get to have normal interaction with my family,” Booker said. “But at least I got to see them and I got to wave to a lot of friends.”
Landry Shamet added 11 points and Chris Paul chipped in 10 points with six rebounds and six assists for the Suns, who improved to 33-9 and have won six of their last seven contests. Mikal Bridges also scored 10 points in the win.
The Suns are also an NBA-best 16-4 on the road.
“We had two 39-point quarters, so we were obviously hitting shots,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Detroit wears teams out by getting into the paint and getting to the line, and we were able to stay away from a lot of that.”
Pistons’ first overall draft pick Cade Cunningham was ejected after being slapped with two technicals during the third quarter.
The second was ruled “taunting” after he pointed at a Suns player after making a dunk. Cunningham finished with 21 points in 25 minutes of action.
Canadian Cory Joseph also had 21 points and added seven assists and Trey Lyles tallied 18 points and six rebounds.
Booker exploded for 21 points on nine-of-11 shooting in the first half as the Suns seized a 64-54 halftime lead.
He scored 15 points in the opening quarter before Phoenix blew the game open with a 10-4 run in the final three minutes of the second.
In Denver, Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points, Rudy Gobert returned to the line-up with 18 points and 19 rebounds as the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 125-102.