EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Booker scores 35, Suns get 1st win in San Antonio since 2013

Jan 24, 2020, 9:16 PM | Updated: 9:47 pm
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) passes the ball as he is defended by San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Ald...

Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) passes the ball as he is defended by San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and Derrick White during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

The Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs refuse to play a normal basketball game this year. The Suns had a meltdown in Mexico City, an absurd comeback nearly come to fruition at home on Monday and now were able to cling to a late lead Friday for their first win in San Antonio since 2013, a narrow 103-99 victory.

After a lethargic 17 minutes or so of offense, the Suns went on an 18-0 run in the second quarter to go from down eight points to up 10 in under five minutes. That run saw the Suns score on nine straight possessions, a number they extended to 11, and were up 12 at the half.

Phoenix held a decent edge over San Antonio in some of the third quarter before the lead was at one or two possessions the remainder of the way.

The uphill battle the Suns have of earning the respect of the referees continued to show on Friday. Officials are not fans of heavy criticism from bad teams, something the Suns have been prone to doing the past few years despite not reaching 25 wins in five seasons. Maybe that’s the reason or maybe it’s not, but the Suns clearly rub the refs the wrong way on some nights.

There were a few very questionable calls in the second half, leading to a tripping call on Devin Booker where he was taking a charge and the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan clearly extended his arm.

Suns head coach Monty Williams challenged the call, only for it to shockingly not be overturned after a video review.

That proved to be crucial, as Booker was dominating all game long and that was his fifth foul. He picked up his sixth to foul out with 1:31 left and the Suns up three.

But that’s where the basketball gods seemed to intervene and help balance things out.

LaMarcus Aldridge only made one of his two free throws on that foul and Dario Saric had a miss land right in front of him for an easy putback. Aldridge then missed a wide-open mid-range jumper that Deandre Ayton rebounded, only for it to be stolen by Mills. The Australian Spurs guard somehow missed the quick layup after taking it from Ayton under the basket, and then the next time down for San Antonio, Mills missed an open three-pointer with 27.1 seconds left and Phoenix up four.

That effectively sealed a bizarre win for the Suns.

Booker finished with 35 points, four rebounds and 10 assists in 41 minutes on 11-for-20 shooting. If those 41 minutes made you raise your eyebrows, Williams essentially went only seven players deep in his rotation with Aron Baynes and Cam Johnson still out injured.

All five starters scored in double figures, including 20 points from Saric, 16 via Kelly Oubre Jr. and 10 more for Ayton to go with 11 rebounds.

After an alarming season-low of 13 assists in the loss to the Pacers on Wednesday, the Suns got back to what has been working all season with 25 on Friday. The three-ball, though, still wasn’t falling, at an 8-of-29 mark.

DeRozan had 30 points for the Spurs while Aldridge added 16.

Penguin Air
San Antonio Spurs' Trey Lyles, center, attempts to shoot against Phoenix Suns' Kelly Oubre, Jr. (3) and Dario Saric during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' Dejounte Murray (5) shoots against Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' Dejounte Murray (5) and Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker chase the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' Trey Lyles (41) shoots against Phoenix Suns' Dario Saric during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan (10) drives against Phoenix Suns' Kelly Oubre, Jr. (3) as he is screened by Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (12) collides with Phoenix Suns' Dario Saric during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) Phoenix Suns' Dario Saric, left, and Kelly Oubre, Jr. (3) fight for possession against San Antonio Spurs' Derrick White during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan, right, drives against Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) passes the ball as he is defended by San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and Derrick White during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) Phoenix Suns' Kelly Oubre, Jr. (3) reacts as the ball is knocked away by San Antonio Spurs' Dejounte Murray during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

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