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Devin Booker, Suns dominate short-handed Lakers

Sportsnaut
Dec 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas (31) moves the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas (31) moves the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker scored 24 points in his second game back from a hamstring injury as the visiting Phoenix Suns extended their latest winning streak to four games with a 108-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Deandre Ayton added 19 points with 11 rebounds and Mikal Bridges scored 14 points for the Suns, who recovered from a slow start to win for the 24th time in their last 26 games. Chris Paul had 11 points and nine assists.

Prior to the Tuesday victory, Phoenix was just 1-2 on the road since its 18-game winning streak ended on Dec. 3.

LeBron James scored 34 points for the Lakers, who lost their third consecutive game while working through COVID-19 issues and now have Anthony Davis sidelined due to a knee injury. Russell Westbrook contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds.

James injured his left ankle with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter when he came down on the right foot of Phoenix’s Jae Crowder. The Los Angeles star pounded his fist on the floor after the injury but remained in the game, though his mobility appeared compromised the rest of the way.

While the Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard were available again after being sidelined due to health and safety protocols, the team was without head coach Frank Vogel for a second consecutive game. David Fizdale was the acting head coach. Los Angeles also had Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Avery Bradley and Austin Reaves still in protocols.

It was a rough shooting night early for the Suns, who opened 0 of 9 from 3-point range before Booker made two from deep in the final 1:41 of the first quarter. The Suns were just 3 of 22 from 3-point range through two quarters but still had a 54-52 lead at the break.

The Suns pushed their advantage to as many as 13 points in the third quarter and entered the final period with an 85-73 lead. The Lakers never got within single digits the rest of the way.

Cameron Johnson also scored 11 points for the Suns, while JaVale McGee had 10 points and 10 rebounds and Cameron Payne added 10 points. Phoenix finished 12 of 41 (29.3 percent) from long distance.

In his third game with the Lakers, veteran Isaiah Thomas scored just three points on 1-of-11 shooting. Horton-Tucker had just three points on 1-of-13 shooting in his return, and Howard never got off the bench.

–Field Level Media