Everything is coming together for the Phoenix Suns, who look to extend their winning streak to six games when they face the visiting Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Even with point guard Chris Paul sidelined, the Suns have looked unstoppable as of late. Three-time All-Star Devin Booker is a major reason why.
Booker had 44 points, eight rebounds and six steals in a 122-117 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday.
“That’s kind of what I get paid to do,” Booker said. “I was worried about getting everyone else involved. Late in the game we got a lot of open shots.”
Booker is averaging 27.9 points on 47.0 percent shooting for the Suns, who boast the Western Conference’s best record at 14-6.
Paul has missed the past 10 games due to right heel soreness and is listed as day-to-day. Phoenix has gone 7-3 during that stretch with Cameron Payne starting in Paul’s place.
The Suns have won their last five meetings against Chicago, which is 2-1 midway through its six-game road trip.
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points to lead the Bulls to a 114-107 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday. Zach LaVine added 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic tallied 16 points and nine rebounds.
Chicago head coach Billy Donovan was impressed by his team’s performance in the final minutes.
“I thought we made good decisions coming down the stretch,” Donovan said. “I thought the guys got organized. I thought we generated good shots, even the ones we missed.”
The Bulls also received a spark off the bench from guard Coby White. The fourth-year pro scored 15 points against Utah and is shooting 9 of 17 from 3-point range over the last three games.
Patrick Williams was held to five points and five rebounds in Monday’s victory, but the 6-foot-7 forward has played well in recent weeks.
Williams, the fourth pick from the 2020 draft, has averaged 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in 13 games this month.
“I always felt like I had what it took to be a really good player in this league,” Williams said. “But now I’m starting to feel like I have what it takes to be a star and a superstar in this league. So I’m kind of just trying to take that role on and build on it day by day.”
The Bulls will need a strong effort from Williams against Phoenix, which is 11-1 at home this season.
In addition to defending Booker, Chicago will need to contend with Suns center Deandre Ayton.
The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week posted a career-best sixth consecutive double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds in Monday’s win over Sacramento.
Ayton has taken on a greater role in his fifth season as one of the Suns’ leaders.
“I’m the main guy who has to be ready to play every night,” Ayton said. “I cannot be that guy who is easing into games. For this team I have to be that energizer, that dude who is making those plays, who is on the glass, who is dunking the ball, who is getting the crowd in it, setting all our screens, setting the tone of the physicality, moving people out of the way.”