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Devin Booker returns in Suns’ rout of Hornets

PHOENIX Suns guard Devin Booker (1) dunks the ball against the Charlotte Hornets in the first half at Footprint Center. –REUTERS

JaVale McGee scored 19 points to lead nine Suns in double figures as Phoenix cruised to a 137-106 win over the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

Devin Booker returned from a seven-game absence and scored 16 points for Phoenix, which led by as many as 29 in the first half and set season highs in points scored, assists (35) and made 3-pointers (20).

Mikal Bridges scored 16 points and Landry Shamet had 15, while Deandre Ayton tallied 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Jae Crowder and Chris Paul scored 14 points apiece for the Suns, who have won 23 of their past 25 games, including 14 straight at home.

Booker, who had been out due to a left hamstring strain, made four 3-pointers and had six rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes. Cameron Johnson added 12 points, his ninth straight game in double figures, and Cameron Payne contributed 11.

Miles Bridges scored 26 points and Kelly Oubre, Jr. had 18 to lead Charlotte. P.J. Washington added 13, Jalen McDaniels had 10 and LaMelo Ball recorded nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

The Suns have won three straight and own the league’s best record at 24-5. The Hornets lost for the eighth time in their last 11 games.

Charlotte trailed 37-15 after the first period, matching its lowest output in a quarter this season.

Phoenix extended its lead to 48-19 on McGee’s dunk with 8:19 left in the first half, and the Suns held a 69-47 advantage at the break.

The Hornets shot 26.4% from the field in the first half, including 4 of 22 (18.2%) from 3-point range.

Phoenix kept the pressure on in the third quarter and led 101-65 after McGee scored with 2:50 left in the period.

The Suns carried a 28-point lead into the final period, leading both teams to rest their starters.

Phoenix led wire to wire and shot 56.8% from the field and 20 of 41 (48.8%) from 3-point range.

Charlotte, which fell to 1-3 on its six-game road trip, was without forward Cody Martin, who was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols prior to the game. — Reuters

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