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Booker Scores 32, Suns Knock Lakers Out of Play-in

Devin Booker scores 32 points as the Phoenix Suns win their franchise-record 63rd game of the season, beating the LeBron James-less Lakers 121-110 and knocking Los Angeles out of playoff contention

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The ball kept coming in for Devin Booker, who seemed to be trying to prove something.

The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA this season, and by the numbers, it’s not even a close fight.

Booker scored 32 points and Phoenix won its franchise-record 63rd game of the season, beating the LeBron James-less Lakers 121-110 on Tuesday to knock Los Angeles out of playoff contention.

“Tonight is incredibly special to a lot of people,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “Not just the organization, but the people in town, who basically gave birth to the Suns. Everywhere I go, people say that the Suns are his baby.”

“It is difficult to express in words, but we are all very grateful,” he added.

It was a tight game in the first half, but Phoenix pulled one back with a 29-9 run in the third quarter. The rest of the game was basically a celebration for the Suns, who danced and dunked against the desolate Lakers.

The Angels, playing without James for the second straight game because of a sprained ankle, have lost seven straight. Russell Westbrook had 28 points, while Anthony Davis had 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he was “extremely disappointed” that his team didn’t make the postseason.

“We fell short. Tonight we were eliminated,” she said. “I can say that it was not for lack of effort. We have all worked. Our boys kept fighting until the end. We bring integrity to the process. We just fell short in a bumpy season.”

Deandre Ayton had 22 points for Phoenix (63-16), which avoided its first three-game losing streak this season.

Even without James, the Lakers started out winning for much of the first half. But the Suns began to take control late in the second quarter and back-to-back alley-oops by Chris Paul and Ayton put Phoenix up 56-50.

The Suns were 63-58 at halftime. Booker had 16 points and Ayton had 14. Westbrook had 18 points for the Lakers before the break.

Phoenix extended its lead in the third to 84-65 in the first six minutes. Booker had 16 points in the third and finished 12-for-22 from the field, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range.

Once the Suns got their big lead, the Lakers didn’t seem particularly interested in a comeback. Los Angeles finished with 16 turnovers, weighed down by the same poor decisions that have plagued the Lakers for much of the season.


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