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Booker sparks big fourth quarter, Suns rally to beat Wizards

Kevin Durant Phoenix Suns Kevin Durant - The Canadian Press

PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker shook off a subpar shooting night, scoring 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, and the Phoenix Suns overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Washington Wizards 112-108 on Sunday night.

Booker missed six of seven 3-point attempts in the first three quarters, then connected on a pair as the Suns came back from an eight-point deficit to start the final period.

“I get frustrated because I want to make every shot I take. But you just got to keep playing,” Booker said. "I've been doing this a long time.

“That communication has to be there, and you want to take away the layups and force teams to make contested mid-range shots. There's firepower all around the league and once the team gets the early lead and gets confidence you never know what can happen.”

Booker also had eight assists.

“He had a tough first three quarters, but it was time for him to take over,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s when he is at his best.”

Kevin Durant led the Suns with 28 points, including a dunk on a three-point play in the final minute. Jusuf Nurkic had 17 rebounds. Drew Eubanks scored 12 points while Jordan Goodwin grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists off the bench.

The Suns have blown several fourth quarter leads this season but came back this time to outscore Washington 31-19 in the fourth to snap a two-game losing streak and stay above .500 at 14-12.

“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Durant said. “We want to build off of it and continue getting better.”

The Suns were 7 of 31 from 3-point range and committed 17 turnovers.

“That could be deflating to anybody,” Durant said of the first-half struggles, which saw Phoenix trail by 16 at one point.

“We missed 3s in the first half but I felt like all of them were open shots,” he said. “We made more shots in the second half and that just made everything look better.”

Daniel Gafford had 26 points and 17 rebounds for the Wizards, who dropped to 4-21 in a failed bid to win consecutive games for the first time this season. Washington beat Indiana on Friday night after losing 15 of its previous 16 games.

“He was unbelievable," Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said about Gafford. "He takes a beating some nights and he just keeps going. Always quarterbacking the defense and protecting the rim. He made play after play to keep us in it.”

Tyus Jones had 22 points for Washington, and Kyle Kuzma added 17 before fouling out.

Former Wizard Bradley Beal sat out for the Suns after spraining his right ankle Friday night against New York. He had just returned in the Suns’ previous game after missing 12 games because of a back injury. Suns coach Frank Vogel said before the game there should be an update Monday on Beal’s status.

With Beal out, Nassir Little made his first start of the season. Eric Gordon returned to score 13 points after missing the last two games because of a right leg contusion.


Wizards: At Sacramento on Monday night.

Phoenix: At Portland on Tuesday night.