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Booker makes impact in return, Trail Blazers cool off Grizzlies

Devin Booker scored 16 points in his return from a seven-game absence as the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns rolled over the Charlotte Hornets 137-106 on Sunday.

Booker, who had been out due to a left hamstring strain, made four three-pointers and had six rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes for the Suns, who led by as many as 29 points in the first half. 

The Suns own the best record in the league and have now won 23 of their last 25 games, including 14 straight at home.

JaVale McGee scored 19 points as Phoenix set season highs in points scored and three-pointers with 20. 

Mikal Bridges scored 16 points and Landry Shamet had 15, while Deandre Ayton tallied 15 points and 15 rebounds. 

Miles Bridges scored 26 points and Kelly Oubre had 18 to lead Charlotte. P.J. Washington added 13, Jalen McDaniels had 10 and LaMelo Ball recorded nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. 

The Hornets lost for the eighth time in their last 11 games.

In Chicago, DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points after missing two weeks because of Covid-19 measures to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 115-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Lonzo Ball added 19 points as the Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Bulls were playing their first game since December 11 after two games were postponed because of Covid-19 measures.

LeBron James had 31 points, Carmelo Anthony added 21 and Russell Westbrook 20 as Los Angeles lost their second straight.

In Memphis, Damian Lillard scored 17 of his 32 points in the first quarter as the Portland Trail Blazers snapped Memphis Grizzlies’ five-game winning streak with a 105-100 win.

‘We had to execute’

The Trail Blazers won for the second consecutive game after ending a seven-game losing skid with a win over Charlotte on Friday.

“It’s not like we blew them out,” Lillard said. “We had to execute. We had to get stops. We had to weather a few storms. It was a great win.”

Norman Powell finished with 28 points as Portland improved to 13-18 on the season in front of a crowd of 18,400 at the FedExForum.

Dillon Brooks scored a career-high 37 points for Memphis. The Grizzlies lost for the second time in their last 12 games.

Portland took the lead, 94-91, on a four-point play by Lillard with just over four minutes left and regained the lead 97-95 on a three-point basket by Powell three minutes later.

“It was a big play,” Powell said. “I was just trying to find an opening. We are not going to get too excited, but it’s a great win for us. It was great to get a gritty win.”

The Grizzlies had a chance to tie it with five seconds to go, but Desmond Bane’s long shot hit the rim and bounced harmlessly away.

Elsewhere, Saddiq Bey scored 26 points and the Detroit Pistons ended their franchise record-tying 14-game losing streak with a 100-90 victory over the Miami Heat.

Hamidou Diallo finished with 15 points and seven rebounds for Detroit, who recorded their first victory since a 97-89 decision over Indiana on November 17. 

Max Strus led the Heat with 24 points off the bench. Kyle Lowry tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Dewayne Dedmon had 11 points for Miami, which had won four of its last five games.

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