EditorsNote: Added 'visiting' in lede graf
Deandre Ayton posted a double-double while Devin Booker added 24 points as the visiting Phoenix Suns staved off a late rally from the Houston Rockets in their 109-103 victory on Wednesday at Toyota Center.
The Suns led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter before the Rockets rallied with a 23-8 run keyed by Christian Wood, who scored 10 of his 20 points in the period.
Phoenix reclaimed a double-digit advantage in the fourth quarter only for Houston to rally again, this time fashioning a 15-2 run that included a driving layup from Victor Oladipo and a transition dunk by Jae'Sean Tate that cut the deficit to 103-101 with 1:38 remaining.
But Ayton snagged a crucial offensive rebound on the ensuing possession and sank two free throws following an Oladipo foul. Booker added two free throws and a layup to seal the victory.
Ayton led Phoenix with 26 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks. Booker shot 10 of 18 from the floor.
Oladipo and Eric Gordon scored 22 points apiece for the Rockets, who have lost five of six. Wood grabbed 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double.
Following five early lead changes, the Suns surged ahead with an 8-0 run and carried a 30-23 lead into the second quarter. Houston forced six turnovers in the opening period but went 0-for-5 on 3s.
Booker matched his output on Monday at Memphis with 12 points in the opening period, but it was his defense that helped ignite the run that allowed Phoenix to push to a double-digit advantage.
With the Rockets trailing 44-40 in the second quarter, Booker was whistled for a foul that was reversed following a Phoenix challenge. The Suns responded with a 13-0 blitz that featured 3-pointers from Jae Crowder and Cameron Payne, a three-point play from Mikal Bridges plus a Frank Kaminsky dunk.
The Rockets missed four shots and committed two turnovers while Phoenix put a stranglehold on the game, and Phoenix took a 63-51 lead into the intermission.
--Field Level Media