PHOENIX – Devin Booker scored 27 points, Landry Shamet added 19 off the bench and the Phoenix Suns pulled away late to beat the Houston Rockets 123-111 on Thursday night.
Phoenix has won three straight games and pushed above .500 for the first time this season with a 4-3 record. Houston has dropped five straight overall and lost five in a row to the Suns.
Shamet and JaVale McGee led a strong effort from the Suns’ bench, which combined for 52 points. Chris Paul had 13 assists two nights after he had 18 in a win against the Cavaliers, which moved him to No. 3 all-time on the NBA’s career list.
Booker added nine rebounds and five assists.
The Suns bumbled through a large chunk of the game before gaining some momentum late in the third quarter. McGee sparked the rally with emphatic blocks on back-to-back possessions and it helped Phoenix turn a narrow deficit into a 93-86 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
The Suns led by as many as 15 points in the fourth.
Houston’s Kevin Porter Jr. scored a season-high 20 points, while Christian Wood added 18.
Houston used a big second quarter to jump out to a 61-56 halftime lead. Wood led the Rockets with 12 points while Porter added 10. Mikal Bridges had 12 for the Suns before the break.
The game was somewhat of an afterthought for the Suns, who spent most of the day digesting the fallout from an ESPN report that owner Robert Sarver has a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents during his 17-year tenure in charge of the franchise.
Coach Monty Williams — who is Black — said he hadn’t talked with Sarver since ESPN’s story was published and that if he had heard the owner say any of the things that were alleged in the story “I wouldn’t be in this seat.”
“My reaction is it’s a lot to process,” Williams said. “There’s so many things there and for me it’s still not clear, as far as the facts are concerned. As someone who is the caretaker of the program, I find all of these things that are being said serious in nature. These allegations are sensitive — that’s an understatement.”
Rockets: F Daniel Theis (right big toe soreness) didn’t play.
Suns: Ayton was back in the lineup after missing one game with a right leg contusion. He finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes before fouling out ... G Cameron Payne (hamstring) missed his fifth straight game. ... F Jae Crowder got a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing with a referee.
Rockets: Travel to face the Nuggets on Saturday.
Suns: Host the Hawks on Saturday.