Booker, Ayton lead balanced but shorthanded Phoenix Suns over Pacers

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

At the end of a long and emotional road trip, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and the Phoenix Suns jumped on the Pacers and never looked back in a 117-104 win Friday night.

After a challenging 48 hours for the Phoenix Suns locker room, in the middle of a five-game road trip, the Suns made quick work of the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. For the second time in three games returning superstar Booker got going early, and Ayton continued his run of form with Phoenix again looking like a contender.

Booker is looking for a bounce early

After sitting out in Atlanta for load management following a six-week injury layoff, DBook was looking to make an impact early. For his second straight game, he scored the first points on a three and had five of the Suns ‘ seven as Phoenix jumped out to a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game.

Unfortunately for Booker, those two early buckets did not translate into a hot shooting night, as he is still looking for his touch. Devin knocked down three threes – all in the first half – but only made 7 of 18 shots from the field – shooting a very un-DBook-like 38.9%.

Despite the off-shooting, Booker did manage to get to the free-throw line four times and converted all four attempts to finish the night with 21 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Just as Book’s shooting has been off, he also had an uncharacteristic four turnovers, showing Devin still has a ways to go to round into his regular form.

Ayton is still efficient and effective for the Suns

After scoring but not rebounding against Atlanta in the loss on Thursday, Ayton was back with another double-double. Leading all scorers with 22 points on an efficient 9 of 14 from the field (64.3%), Ayton provided buckets when the Suns needed them to keep the Pacers at arm’s length.

Ayton’s offensive contribution was a big part of Phoenix’s dominance in the middle. Phoenix outscored Indiana 54 to 40 in the paint and out-rebounded the Pacers 64 to 45, with Deandre leading all players in both categories, grabbing 11 rebounds to accompany the 22 points.

The Suns’ team kept the Pacers in the pits

None of the triumvirate of Booker, Ayton, or Chris Paul ended up playing even 30 minutes, as a balance Suns attack left the Pacers chasing all night. Six Suns scored in double-figures, with all five starters – Josh Okogie (17), Torrey Craigh (11), and Paul (19) – hitting double-figures. Additionally, Ish Wainright pitched in 13 off the bench.

It was another successful night for a shorthanded Suns team. Every game the Suns can win while they are still waiting on the arrival of three new players – T.J. Warren, Darius Bazley, and Kevin Durant – as well as the return of two injured – Cam Payne and Landry Shamet – is a good win. That is what the Suns got on Friday night in Indiana, a good win.

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