West Notes: Suns, Devin Booker, Mavs, Jazz


The Suns are doing everything in their power to earn a regular playoff spot and avoid the play-in tournament. If it means beating the so-so Hawks at home, then so be it.Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, NBA

That’s what Phoenix did on Thursday behind 30 points from Devin Booker and 21 from reserve guard Eric Gordon.

The Suns (41-29) are 12 games above .500 for the first time this season as a result. They’ve also won six of nine, so they’re heating up at the perfect time.

“This is more of what we expect out of our group, with the talent we have top to bottom,” Booker told reporters.

  • Along with that, the Suns received 47 points from the bench on a sizzling 17-of-24 from the field. “Probably the best bench performance of the season,” coach Frank Vogel said.
  • Phoenix entered Friday tied with the Mavericks for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, just a half-game ahead of the Kings. “We want to finish in the top six,” Vogel said. “But the competition is fierce.”
  • For the record, the Mavs hold the tiebreaker vs. the Suns.


For now, the Mavs hold the tiebreaker over the Suns for the No. 6 spot in the West, courtesy of Thursday’s home victory over the Jazz.

Not surprisingly, Luka Doncic led the way with 34 points, nine rebounds and eight assists — as Dallas has won three straight. That said, the Mavs are getting it done as a team in the truest sense.

“Guys are being very unselfish, and it’s really fun to watch and be a part of,” coach Jason Kidd told reporters.

  • Center Daniel Gafford, acquired in a February trade with the Wizards, scored 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, his season-high with Dallas. He leads the NBA in field-goal percentage at a sizzling 70.8%.
  • Kidd on Gafford: “He has great hands. His ability to finish in traffic is something we haven’t had.”


  • Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz in Thursday’s loss to the Mavs with 21 points, and Collin Sexton came off the bench to score 20. Sexton now has recorded at least 20 in six straight games.
  • Utah has lost four straight and eight of 12. It is eight games out of play-in contention with 12 to go.
  • Jordan Clarkson sat out his fifth straight game with a groin injury. No word on when he might return.

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