EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Phoenix Suns waste another superb Devin Booker effort, fall to Magic

Jan 28, 2024, 6:42 PM

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magi...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Kia Center on January 28, 2024 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Getting two special Devin Booker performances couldn’t change the Phoenix Suns losing two straight games on the road. A 113-98 loss on Sunday to the Orlando Magic came when Booker scored 44 points, following up his 62-point masterpiece on Friday.

Much like that defeat to the Indiana Pacers, it was the Suns doing damage to themselves in a way where they let the math beat them.

The Suns turned it over 23 times for 21 Magic points and lost 11-6 on the offensive glass. That brought on a +19 shot attempt advantage for the Magic. Add on the 12-of-21 (57.1%) Suns mark at the foul line compared to Orlando’s 19-for-26 (73.1%), plus a 4-for-14 (28.6%) 3-point shot profile versus the Magic’s 12-for-36 (33.3%), and that’s going to require something close to perfection in other departments to win.

Phoenix, in fact, shot 25% better than Orlando in the first half but was only up five.

The Suns led most of the way before their issues in the fourth quarter took a seat in the captain’s chair from there. An 8-0 Magic run put Orlando ahead by five with under seven minutes remaining and that was part of an 8:14 stretch for the Suns without a field goal. They spiraled the rest of the way to not even have the last couple of minutes be competitive in a 31-13 Magic fourth quarter.

Booker at one point had made 15 of his next 17 shots in the game after beginning 2-for-5. He wasn’t able to stay white hot in the final frame, though, and ended the game 17-of-26 with four rebounds, three assists and four turnovers. Durant had seven of those turnovers and shot 7-of-12 for 15 points with five assists.

Beal broke his nose on Friday and the quick turnaround on the road forced him to be in a temporary mask before the fitted one arrives. While he was fiddling with it a lot, the old-school mask didn’t appear to be bothering him much early on while he made his first three shots. But then he finished the game 4-for-13 and ended the game without it on.

Jusuf Nurkic (left thumb sprain) did not play after sustaining that injury on Friday. He was severely missed by the Suns on both ends of the floor.

Orlando entered the day 7-15 since mid-December and looked the part offensively but is a team built around a long, active defense. It is a different squad when it can play off turnovers and the Suns allowed them to be that.

On top of the giveaways, the Suns only generated 19 assists. Orlando had 30.

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