Phoenix Suns take over first place in Western Conference, Booker leads charge in blowout win against Utah Jazz


Michael Tipton (Flickr)

Devin Booker delivered from the line to clinch the game on Thursday

Daniel Moreno, Reporter

Utah held the best record in the NBA for most of the season, but got caught from behind by Phoenix with only nine games left to go.

With the two teams tied following Friday night’s game, it looks like it will come down to who can close out the season better.

With power forward Dario Saric back in the lineup the Suns aren’t looking anywhere but forward.

The hot start has recently become a staple of the Sun’s success.

Last night, it was shooting guard Devin Booker who spearheaded the Suns charge after the opening tip off.  With 14 points in the first quarter, Booker got the Suns rolling to a 16 point lead by the end of the first quarter.

“I think our physicality wasn’t there,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “Those guys are good but I feel they were a little bit too comfortable. Our offense affected our defense, too. When we turn the ball over or take a bad shot they were able to run on us. Then they get going and get confidence.”

This was evident in the second quarter when Suns point guard Chris Paul stole the ball off a bad pass from Joe Ingles and tossed it up to small forward Mikal Bridges for the slam that sent the fans at Phoenix Suns Arena into a frenzy.

The athletic finish from Bridges showed why Suns coach Monty Williams has trusted him with a starting spot.  He has become an integral component for Phoenix on both offense and defense.

But the highlight of the night came at the end of the third quarter when Booker made a cross-over step back on the mismatched Gobert, sending him stumbling in the wrong direction.

What really made the play wasn’t just the impeccable shot though, it was the response from Booker’s teammates as well.

After the ball cleared the net and Booker started running back on defense, Bridges reacted by hyping Booker up and pushing him in excitement.

“That’s just having fun with it man,” Booker said smiling. “Not everyone has a vibe like this, an energy like this. It’s a great environment to get better in.”

The Suns begin a three-game road trip on Sunday in Oklahoma City.  They’ll play at Cleveland and Atlanta before returning home to face the Knicks on May 7.