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Booker scores 17 in preseason debut, Suns rout Trail Blazers

Booker scores 17 in preseason debut, Suns rout Trail Blazers
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PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker showed in his preseason debut he’s ready to lead the Phoenix Suns to another run at an NBA championship.

Booker scored 17 points in 18 minutes in the first half of the Suns’ 119-74 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

Booker missed the beginning of training camp and the Suns’ first three preseason games after testing positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. Suns coach Monty Williams said Booker’s conditioning had improved enough to play in the game.

With Booker on the court, the Suns looked ready for a repeat trip to the NBA Finals after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks last season. Booker shot 6 of 10 from the field, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers, as Phoenix led 59-38 at halftime. He sat out the second half.

Booker, a two-time All-Star, averaged 25.6 points last season.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 12 points. Robert Covington and CJ McCollum had 10 points while Jusuf Nurkic added eight points and 13 rebounds.

The Trail Blazers were only 6 of 39 on 3s. The Suns made 16 of 41, including three by Landry Shamet, who had 12 points, and three by Cameron Johnson, who had 11.

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said his team’s travel plans back to Portland were adjusted so players would be able to attend Wednesday night’s WNBA Finals game between the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury at Footprint Center.

MAVERICKS 127, HORNETS 59

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points to lead six Dallas scorers in double figures and the Mavericks beat Charlotte by 68 points.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) looks to pass as Portland Portland Trail Blazers forward Norman Powell (24) defends during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Phoenix.

The Hornets rested some top players and limited LeMelo Ball to only 11 minutes. He scored only four points while making only 2 of 10 shots from the field.

Some other top players were held out by Charlotte, including Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre Jr. The Hornets were held to no more than 18 points in any period.

Kristaps Porzingis had 17 points and nine rebounds for Dallas. After leading 61-30 at halftime, the Mavericks outscored Charlotte 30-11 in the third period.
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