Booker gets 44 as Suns top Pelicans

Devin Booker broke out of a perimeter-shooting slump, scoring 21 of his season-high 44 points in the third quarter, and Ricky Rubio powered the Suns with four points and a critical assist in overtime in a 139-132 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans on Thursday night.

Playing the back end of a back-to-back, Phoenix led by 18 points entering the fourth quarter, but the Pelicans answered with five 3-pointers, two by the normally scatter-shooting Lonzo Ball, to tie it 125-125.

The Pelicans had a chance to win in regulation, but Brandon Ingram missed a 15-foot jumper from the right baseline as time expired.

In overtime, Ingram’s three-point play tied it 129-129, but Rubio hit a 12-footer and a scoop in the lane and then added a no-look assist to put the Suns up 135-129. Rubio finished with 15 assists.

New Orleans cut its deficit to 135-132 on JJ Redick’s 3-pointer with 56.5 seconds left, but Frank Kaminsky, who had six points in the overtime, iced it with two free throws. Kaminsky finished with 20 points, and Kelly Oubre had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Booker was 9-for-31 from long range in his previous five games, but he made 5 of 11 3-point tries, including all three of his attempts in 33-21 third quarter when the Suns built a 105-85 lead.

“In the past three games, we’ve been slow out of halftime,” Booker said. “We made it a point at halftime that coming out, we needed to be better, so I just tried to out my foot down on that, come out with energy and be aggressive, and it worked well for us.”

New Orleans, which lost its seventh consecutive game, had four players with at least 20 points: Redick with 26, Jrue Holiday with 23, Ingram with 21 and Ball with 20 and 11 assists.

Rockets 119, Raptors 109: Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, James Harden shook off a slow start to score 23 points and Houston beat Toronto, snapping a three-game road losing streak. Ben McLemore had a season-high 28 points, P.J. Tucker added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Danuel House Jr. scored 16 as the Rockets handed Toronto its second straight home loss after a franchise-record nine straight wins to begin the season. Pascal Siakam scored 24 points, Fred VanVleet had 20 and Kyle Lowry 19 as the Raptors lost back-to-back regular-season home games for the first time since losing to Oklahoma City and Charlotte on March 22 and 24. McLemore set a career high by making eight 3-pointers on 17 attempts. Tucker matched his season high with five 3-pointers. Houston finished 22-for-55 from long range.

Wizards 119, 76ers 113: As well as Philadelphia has been playing at home lately, it just can’t consistently get its act together on the road, and a combined 15 turnovers by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons contributed to a loss at Washington. The Sixers dropped to 5-7 away from Philadelphia — where they are 10-0 this season — despite 33 points from Tobias Harris, 26 points and a season-best 21 rebounds from Embiid, and 17 points and 10 assists from Simmons. Facing one of the most lax defenses in the NBA, Embiid had eight turnovers and Simmons seven. The 76ers ended up with 21 in all, leading to 30 points for the Wizards.

Nuggets 129, Knicks 92: Will Barton scored 17 points to help Denver beat host New York. Jerami Grant added 16 and Monte Morris had 15. The Nuggets shot 56% from the field, had eight players reach double-figures and snapped a two-game losing streak. Mitchell Robinson had 17 points and Marcus Morris and Bobby Portis each added 10 for New York. The Knicks have lost eight straight.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Booker-gets-44-as-Suns-top-Pelicans-14886291.php.

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