Devin Booker poured in 19 of his game-high 35 points during the crucial fourth quarter, including 14 in a row, as the host Phoenix Suns staved off the Dallas Mavericks 121-100 Wednesday night in both teams’ season opener.
The new-look Suns trailed just once in the game, 2-0, and maintained a double-digit lead most of the way, getting off to a 37-24 first quarter on 70 percent shooting. But things got dicey in the fourth quarter when Dallas shot its way back within 94-90 with seven minutes to play. That’s when the Phoenix point guard heated up.
After a drive to make it 96-90, Booker buried a shot-clock-beating 3-pointer, completed a three-point play and then drained two more treys for 14 consecutive Suns points that put the game out of reach.
Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton started his NBA career with a double-double, notching 18 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, and 10 rebounds while adding six assists and a steal. Free agent signee Trevor Ariza scored 21 points and drained five 3-pointers as the Suns hit 19 of 34 from beyond the arc.
Dallas, just 10 of 33 from behind the arc, was led by reserve forward Dwight Powell’s 16 points. His eight fourth-quarter points finally sparked the Mavs, who trailed 99-94 with five minutes to play before getting outscored 22-6.
Mavs guard Wesley Matthews finished with 15 points, Dennis Smith Jr. had 13, and DeAndre Jordan went for 11 points and 12 rebounds. Luka Doncic, Dallas’ first-round draft pick, had a tough opener with 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting. He added eight rebounds and four assists.
The Suns, with a revamped roster, showed an explosiveness on offense early, and Ayton was a big part of it. He made his first three shots of the game, showing nice footwork in the paint as well as some range with his jumper. He also played big during Phoenix’s final push to put the game away.
—Field Level Media