Booker scores 40 as Suns end 76ers’ unbeaten start

Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns reacts as he awaits a free-throw shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona November 4, 2019. — AFP pic
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns reacts as he awaits a free-throw shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona November 4, 2019. — AFP pic

PHOENIX, Nov 5 — Devin Booker scored a season-high 40 points yesterday, and Ricky Rubio added 21 points and 10 assists as the host Phoenix Suns handed the Philadelphia 76ers their first loss of the season, 114-109.

Aron Baynes had 15 points and made three 3-pointers, Kelly Oubre scored 14 points, and the Suns shot 53.2 per cent from the field. Phoenix won for the fifth time in seven games, its best start since beginning the 2013-14 season with the same record.

Al Horford had a season-high 32 points and tied a career high with five 3-pointers, Tobias Harris had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Furkan Korkmaz contributed a career-high 20 points for the Sixers. Philadelphia had been the last undefeated team in the league after winning its first five.

The 76ers played without leading scorer and rebounder Joel Embiid, who served the final game of a two-game suspension after an altercation with Minnesota centre Karl-Anthony Towns last Wednesday. Kurkmaz started in his place.

Oubre made a free throw and Booker sank two for a 112-106 lead with 6.1 seconds left. Korkmaz sank his fourth 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining before Rubio was fouled and made two free throws to seal the win.

Booker was 15 of 19 from the field, made 3 of 4 3-point tries and hit all seven of his free throws. At 213 years, five days, he became the eighth-youngest player in league history to reach 6,000 points. He needed 37 entering the night.

“I feel fresh,” Booker said.

Sixers 6-foot-10 point guard Ben Simmons had a season-low six points while adding five rebounds, six assists and seven plus of the team’s 11 steals. Six-foot-10 Baynes and 7-foot reserve Frank Kaminsky covered Simmons for the majority of the game.

The Suns held the Sixers to 47.2 per cent shooting. Phoenix has outshot its opponent in all seven games this season.

Baynes has scored in double figures in a career-long six consecutive games and has made multiple 3-pointers in a career-long four straight games. He has received the bulk of the minutes while Deandre Ayton serves a 25-game suspension for a positive drug test. — Reuters

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