Booker, Durant Both Score 36, Suns Even Series With Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns evened their Western Conference semifinal playoff series at two games apiece with a 129-124 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Devin Booker had 36 points and 12 assists, while Kevin Durant also tallied 36 points for the Suns.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) -- Devin Booker scored 36 points with 12 assists and Kevin Durant added 36 points as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Denver Nuggets by 129-124 Sunday. The series in the Western Conference Semifinals is now even at two games each.

Landry Shamet, the Suns' backup guard, made four important 3-pointers during the fourth quarter. Denver lost despite the great performance of MVP runner up Nikola Jokic who scored 53 points on 20 out of 30 shots.

Jokic's physical play helped him knock down several big baskets. He even grabbed the ball from Suns owner Mat Ishbia after it went out of bounds at one point, earning the Nuggets All-Star an technical foul.

Tuesday, the series will return to Denver with Game 5.

Booker's 17-point third quarter scoring spree gave the Suns a 98 92 lead going into the fourth. Phoenix would not trail in the final quarter, but Denver wasn't quiet.

Nuggets led 116-106, but did not panic. They slowly cut into the lead. The Nuggets pulled within 123-128 with 22.4 seconds remaining, but TJ Warren's two free throws pushed the margin back by five.

Booker, who averages 36 points and shoots 60% in the playoffs, was again hot, hitting 14 of 18 shots from the field including 3 of 4. Shamet scored 19 points and shot 5 of 8 3s.

Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 28 points and 7 assists.

Suns point-guard Chris Paul has missed two straight games due to a left groin strain suffered in Game 2.

Suns led 63-61 at halftime. Jokic scored 24 points before halftime for the Nuggets, while Durant had 21.


Jokic received a technical foul after an odd altercation between Ishbia and himself in the second half.

Suns guard Josh Okogie crashed through the seats late in the second period while attempting to retrieve a ball that had fallen. He fell into a group of supporters on the baseline, including Ishbia who grabbed the ball.

Jokic tried to grab the ball quickly, presumably so that the Nuggets can start their offensive possession. He then attempted to take it away from Ishbia. Jokic's elbow knocked Ishbia backward after the ball was thrown backwards into the crowd.

After a few moments of confusion, officials were able to sort out the bizarre scene. Jokic then received a technical foul.

Ishbia said to The Associated Press that he felt 'fine' at halftime and was more concerned about the match than the altercation. In the second half, he was back in his normal seat.


Suns center Deandre ayton received scorn from the media and fans after his poor performance in Game 3.

Ayton scored just four points in Game 3, and had nine rebounds. The former No. Jock Landale was substituted for the No. 1 pick in the fourth-quarter.

The big man won the fans over during his first offensive possession. He grabbed three offensive rebounds in a row before Booker sank a short jumper to the roaring crowd. Ayton ended the game with eight points, and eight rebounds.