LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Devin Booker scored 35 points, and the Phoenix Suns rolled past the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder 128-101 on Monday to improve to 6-0 in the restart and improve their playoff chances.
The Suns have surged in the Western Conference standings. They entered the day just 1½ games behind eighth-place Memphis and a game behind ninth-place Portland in the race to qualify for a spot in the play-in series.
"We haven't accomplished anything," Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. "That may sound like coach-speak, but we dug ourselves a hole with our record. We scrapped all year long and won some games, but it's been an uphill battle.
"We've done a good job of getting to this point. No one knew we were going to be here, but we're here and we're thankful for that."
Oklahoma City was without four of its top five scorers. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (bruised right calf), Danilo Gallinari (left ankle maintenance), Dennis Schroder (birth of child) and Steven Adams (bruised left leg) sat out. Reserve center Nerlens Noel (sprained right ankle) also did not play. Rookie Darius Bazley had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.
Phoenix opened the second half on an 11-2 run to take a 10-point lead and coasted from there.
Dallas 122, Utah 114: The shorthanded Mavericks rallied from a 22-point deficit in the second half to stun the Jazz. Tim Hardaway Jr. led Dallas with 27 points and Seth Curry added 22. Boban Majanovic had 20 points and nine rebounds.The win means Dallas still has a slim shot at earning the No. 5 seed in the West. Utah was led by Jordan Clarkson with 18 points.
Toronto 114, Milwaukee 106: Chris Boucher scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Raptors defeat the Bucks in a meeting between the top two teams in the East. Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, missed the game after undergoing oral surgery. It's uncertain whether he will play in the team's final two seeding games Tuesday against the Wizards and Thursday against the Grizzlies. For Toronto, Kyle Lowry (back), Serge Ibaka (knee) and Fred Van Vleet (knee) all sat out.
Miami 114, Indiana 92: Jimmy Butler returned from a foot injury and scored 19 points, and Derrick Jones scored 18 off the bench as the Heat beat the Pacers to move a game ahead of Indiana in the race for the No. 4 seed in the East. Tyler Herro scored 17 while Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder each added 14 for Miami, which stopped a two-game slide. T.J. Warren scored 12 for Indiana on 5-for-14 shooting. He came into the game averaging a bubble-leading 34.8 points per game.
L.A. Lakers 124, Denver 121: Kyle Kuzma's three-pointer with 0.7 seconds left gave the Lakers the win over the Nuggets. Kuzma had 25 points while teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis had 29 and 27 points. James also had 12 assists but only one rebound. Eight players scored in double figures for Denver led by PJ Dozier with 18.