Suns Strokes: Warren, Booker lead Phoenix to home finale win over Mavericks
Apr 9, 2017, 6:58 PM
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
PHOENIX — Pausing first to throw mini basketballs into the stands, the Phoenix Suns walked off the court at Talking Stick Resort Arena one last time.
And they did so winners.
Behind a trio of 20-point scorers, the Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-111 in front of another sold out crowd.
Devin Booker and T.J. Warren each had 21, while Tyler Ulis chipped in 20 with 10 assists.
Warren did not miss a shot, going 8-of-8 from the field.
Three other players reached double-figures in scoring: Derrick Jones Jr. (career-high 15), Alex Len (14) and Alan Williams (13).
Len added 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season.
It was Fan Appreciation Day and the Suns (24-57) made sure the 18,055 in attendance left happy.
A close game late in the first half, the Suns pulled away, using a 36-20 third quarter on their way to posting consecutive wins for the first time since winning three straight the first week of March and surpassing last season’s win total.
Yogi Ferrell and Dwight Powell scored 21 points apiece to lead the Mavericks (32-48), who lost their fourth straight and for the eighth time in nine games overall.
Down seven early, the Suns went on a 15-0 run highlighted by Warren’s six points — he had an and-1 and 3-pointer — to go up 24-14 at the 5:50 mark of the first quarter. Warren finished with a game-high 15 on 5-of-5 shooting. The Suns scored 40 in the period, tying season-high.
Prior to the first-quarter go-ahead run, Booker had five points to pass Kobe Bryant (2,755) to move into fourth on the all-time scoring list by players 20 or younger. The three players ahead of Booker are LeBron James (4,649), Kevin Durant (3,495) and Carmelo Anthony (3,283).
Coming off the bench to begin the second quarter, Williams had 11 points — he scored eight of the Suns first 11 in the period — and two rebounds in eight minutes. He shot 4-of-7 from the field and went 3-of-5 from the foul line, putting him in double figures for the third consecutive game.
Midway through the third quarter, the Suns scored on eight straight possessions. Ulis had a hand in 14 of the 18 points scored. He made three field goals, including a 3-pointer, and set up Alex Len for an and-1 plus Dragan Bender for a 21-foot jumper. Ulis finished with a game-high 15 points.
Starting the fourth quarter and making his Suns debut was Elijah Millsap, who signed a multiyear contract after leading the Northern Arizona Suns of the D-League in scoring (19.7). Millsap didn’t record a poin — he went 0-of-5 — but he did have two rebounds and one assist in 12 minutes.
The Suns’ 12-point first-quarter lead was trimmed to three, 31-28, when Wesley Matthews knocked down a 22-foot jump shot at the 2:03 mark. The play capped a 12-3 Mavericks run in which Ferrell had eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. He was Dallas’ leading scorer after the opening period.
With 11 first-half points, Dirk Nowitzki passed Hakeem Olajuwon (1,438) to move into fifth on the all-time scoring list by a Suns opponent in the regular season. The four players ahead of Nowitzki are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2,558), Karl Malone (1,933), Kobe Bryant (1,664) and Elvin Hayes (1,527).
A brief scare for Marquese Chriss early in the third quarter. He banged knees with a defender and bent down on all fours for a moment. He eventually limped off the court at the 8:06 mark. Chriss did not return, finishing with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, four rebounds and three assists in 17 minutes.
Unable to find any room in the lane, the Mavericks attempted at least nine 3-pointers in all four quarters. They finished with 45, setting a new Suns’ opponent season-high for 3-point attempts (43 twice, last on Jan. 19 at Cleveland). The Mavericks made 16 of their 3s, good for 35.6 percent.
STAT OF THE GAME
56-34: The Suns dominated inside, scoring 56 points in the paint compared to 34 by the Mavericks
HE SAID IT
“It’s good,” head coach Earl Watson said, referring to winning the final home game of the season. “It’s great to see our young guys. They had their young guys in the second half versus our young guys. We had our young guys most of the season, and you get a chance to see how much further along our young guys are compared to other teams … their young guys have a journey just like ours, but we feel like ours are better.”
– Suns clinched the season series, 3-1, their first over a team from the west.
– Suns played in front of their third straight sellout and 11th overall this year.
– Leandro Barbosa (right hamstring spasms) missed an eighth straight game.
– Eric Bledsoe sat out his 14th straight game and 15th overall on the season.
– Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight did not play for the 24th straight game.
– Dallas’ Harrison Barnes (rest) and Seth Curry (shoulder injury) did not play.
– Highland High’s Miner Webster was honored with the Spirit of Cotton Award.
The Suns close out the regular season with a trip to Sacramento to play the Kings on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The Kings have won two of the three meetings this season with the away team winning each, including Booker’s game-winning buzzer-beater in the Suns’ first-ever game at the new Golden 1 Center; the victory ended a four-game Kings winning streak in the series.
Overall, the Suns are 10-12 over their last 22 games against the Kings.