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Suns, Hawks rally to keep NBA winning streaks alive

The Hawks won their seventh straight game with a 129-121 come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mikal Bridges of the Suns. (file photo)
Mikal Bridges of the Suns. (file photo)
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE PHOENIX SUNS erased a 12-point third-quarter deficit to beat San Antonio 115-110 and push their NBA winning streak to 10 games on a Sunday that saw Atlanta rally for a seventh straight win.

The lead changed hands nine times in the fourth quarter and the Suns trailed by two with 2:19 remaining when Devin Booker drained back-to-back three-pointers to put Phoenix ahead for good.

The Suns became the first team in the league to reach 40 wins, pushing their NBA-best record to 40-9.

Booker led the way with 28 points. Mikal Bridges added 26 and veteran point guard Chris Paul had 20 points and 19 assists.

Doug McDermott led the Spurs with 24 points and Lonnie Walker IV added 22 off the bench.

In Atlanta, Trae Young scored 36 points and handed out 12 assists as the high-flying Hawks won their seventh straight with a 129-121 come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Young scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and reserve Onyeka Okongwu, the US son of Nigerian immigrants, added 12 of his 16 points in the fourth to spark a rally from a 101-91 deficit after three quarters.

The Lakers were without four-time NBA champion LeBron James, who missed a third consecutive game with a sore left knee.

Malik Monk, who led the Lakers with 33 points and 10 rebounds, noted that the superstar playmaker is “missed tremendously” but, he added: “It’s our job to figure out how to play without him.”

Anthony Davis had 27 points and Russell Westbrook chipped in 20 and 12 assists for Los Angeles.

The Hawks opened the fourth with a 16-5 run to seize the lead.

The Lakers pulled level on a Monk three-pointer with 1:52 left, but Young answered with a 30-foot three-pointer and two free throws as the Hawks pulled away.

“We have what it takes to win games,” Okongwu said. “No matter if we’re up or down, no matter how the game’s going, as long as we lock in.”

In Detroit, the Pistons played a dismal first half but rallied to beat the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers 115-105.

Detroit rookie guard Cade Cunningham’s game was emblematic of the Pistons’ night. Scoreless in the first half, Cunningham finished with a triple-double of 19 points 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the hosts seized the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter and held on for the win.

Saddiq Bey scored 31 points for the Pistons, who snapped a four-game skid and ended Cleveland’s four game winning streak.

The Chicago Bulls also shook off a slow start on the way to a 130-116 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland made seven of their first nine three-point attempts, but Chicago clamped down on defense and clawed back for the win.

Coming off a big defeat in San Antonio, the Bulls rebounded with at least 20 points from all three of their All-Stars.

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Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his 26th double-double of the season. DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and 10 assists and Zach LaVine chipped in 20 points for the Bulls, who are a half-game behind the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference.

In Orlando, the Magic’s Franz Wagner drove for a go-ahead layup with less than a minute to play in a 110-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Orlando, who own the worst record in the league, withstood a triple-double by Mavs guard Luka Doncic of 34 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists – the 43rd of the Slovenian star’s career tying him for 10th on the all-time list.

There was little suspense in Milwaukee, where NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic scored 18 points with nine rebounds and 15 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets’ 136-100 rout of the reigning champion Bucks.

Jokic out-dueled former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 22 of his 29 points in the first half. Despite Antetokounmpo’s early exploits, the Nuggets led by three after the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way.

Utah’s 126-106 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves was made even more painful by a first-quarter knee injury suffered by Australian forward Joe Ingles.

Ingles’ knee buckled on a drive to the basket and he fell to the court before being helped to the locker room.

– © AFP 2022 

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