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Apr 4, 2024 9:14 pm

Devin Booker hopes to stay hot as Suns take on Wolves

Devin Booker

Devin Booker aims to continue his prolific scoring spree when the Phoenix Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in a pivotal contest for both teams.

The shooting guard scored 92 points over the past two games to help the Suns (45-31) move up to No. 6 spot in the Western Conference playoff race entering Thursday night’s play. A sixth-place finish — or higher — would avoid the play-in round.

Booker poured in 52 points in Monday’s 124-111 road win over the New Orleans Pelicans. He followed that up with 40 in Wednesday’s 122-101 home victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“I think it’s just an energy throughout our whole team,” Booker said. “Understanding what’s at stake, what time of year it is.

“The ball is hopping around, we’re defending at a high level — everything’s hitting.”

Booker is 32 of 53 from the field — including 13 of 25 from 3-point range — over the past two games.

Kevin Durant added 32 points against Cleveland, marking just the second time all season Durant and Booker scored 30 or more points in the same game.

“It’s fun. Teammates feed off of it, everybody in the arena feeds off of it — shot-making is fun,” Durant said. “So we were able to get to our spots and knock ’em down.”

Phoenix has won 10 of its past 15 games and a lot is at stake as it enters its final six games of the regular season.

Just one game separates the Nos. 5 through 8 spots in the West entering Thursday, with the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers just one game further back.

The Suns are a half-game behind the fifth-place Dallas Mavericks. Phoenix has the same record as the Pelicans but owns the tiebreaker while the Sacramento Kings are a half-game back in eighth place.

Minnesota (53-23) is in its own battle at the top of the West.

The Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets are tied for first place and the Oklahoma City Thunder are just one game back. Denver visits the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

Minnesota visits the Lakers on Sunday to end a brief two-game trip that starts in Phoenix. The Timberwolves and Suns also close the season in Minneapolis on April 14.

The Timberwolves are streaking, winning nine of their past 11 games. They are fresh off a 133-85 rout of the visiting Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Minnesota led by 16 points at halftime and then outscored the injury-ravaged Raptors 75-43 in the second half.

“Taking care of business, taking advantage of a severely depleted team, and just kind of kept growing the lead,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “That was the challenge at halftime was to play against our own standard.”

Anthony Edwards scored 28 points and knocked down 5 of 12 3-point attempts. The latter was something Minnesota was glad to see after Edwards missed all 19 3-point attempts combined over the previous three games.

“They felt the same as yesterday,” Edwards said after Wednesday’s game, referring to missing all six treys in a win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. “Yesterday, I had a couple ins-and-outs, so I knew today was going to be the day that they were going to fall.”

Despite the struggles, Edwards scored more than 20 points in each of those three games. He has hit the mark in four straight games and five of six.

Naz Reid added 23 points and made 6 of 10 from 3-point range against Toronto.

Phoenix has won eight of the past nine meetings, including a 133-115 home victory on Nov. 15. That game was the other time Booker and Durant scored 30 in the same game with both players tallying 31.

–Field Level Media

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