The Rundown: CP3, Booker power Suns to 9th straight W

Published January 29, 2022, 2:15 PMMiguel Flores

Chris Paul’s triple-double and Devin Booker’s 29 points were enough to lead the Suns past the Timberwolves for their ninth consecutive victory.



Magic 119, Pistons 103

Hornets 117, Lakers 114

Hawks 108, Celtics 92

Nuggets 116, Pelicans 105

Heat 121, Clippers 114

Trail Blazers 125, Rockets 110

Grizzlies 119, Jazz 109

Pacers 113, Thunder 110

Spurs 131, Bulls 122

Suns 134, Timberwolves 124

Bucks 123, Knicks 108

What went down

The no-All-Star-starter Phoenix Suns continued to dominate, winning their ninth straight game after handling the Minnesota Timberwolves.

From a surprise last season, the Suns have become a business-as-usual team. Chris Paul dropping a 21-10-14 triple-double and Devin Booker hanging 29 points and nine assists on the Wolves don’t even make headlines anymore. Phoenix at 39-9 is 3.5 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors for first place in the league. It looks like they’re in good shape to stay there for the rest of the season.

Don’t look now, but the Atlanta Hawks are good again. 

Atlanta inched closer to entering the playoff picture, crushing the Boston Celtics for their sixth straight win. Their 23-25 record is tied with the Washington Wizards for 10th place.

If this seems like déjà vu, that’s because the Hawks made a similar run around the All-Star break last season to rocket up the East standings. With trade rumors swirling, it’s a good thing the Hawks didn't need a coaching change to spark this run.

It feels like it’s been longer than a year, but DeMar DeRozan only became a Bull this season. For the three seasons prior, he was a Spur. In his first game back in San Antonio, he deservedly got a tribute video for his underrated time there.

DeRozan gave the Spurs a poster in return, but it was San Antonio that came away with the upset win against the Eastern Conference giants.

Big-time baller

Speaking of the Spurs, how about that Dejounte Murray?

The Spurs haven’t been doing too well this season but that isn’t because of Murray. He’s rightfully getting All-Star buzz this season for averaging a near triple-double and being one of the most terrifying defenders in the league. 

Against the Bulls today, Murray shone with 29 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, and three steals. This sequence encapsulated Murray’s season.

First-time All-Star Ja Morant also deserves a lot of love after gathering his first triple-double of the season in Memphis’ win over the Utah Jazz.

What he said

Joel Embiid respects game. That goes not just for good basketball play but also for juicy trash talk. 

On Wednesday when the Sixers faced the Pelicans, Embiid got into it with undrafted Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado after Embiid fouled Garrett Temple hard. Embiid and Alvarado were assessed a technical foul each for their confrontation.

Embiid respected Alvarado’s moxie and paid the fine for both their technicals.

"He was just regular trash talk. Just two guys going at each other on the basketball court. He didn't back down. I respected that. I like that about him,” Embiid told reporters at shootaround today.

"After the game, I just went up to him and told him to keep fighting and keep it going and obviously, that other part. I just felt like the least I can do because I made him pick up a tech and he doesn't make as much as other guys in the league. I just felt like that was on me and I didn't want him to lose that money because I'm sure we all need it."

Alvarado is one of the few highlights to a bleak season for New Orleans. Injuries and protocols have opened the door for Alvarado to get minutes and he’s been taking advantage.

Did you see that?

The Charlotte Hornets were up by as much as 16 points in the third quarter and nine points with less than two minutes to go against the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Still, the Lakers made it close right up until the final possession. The GOAT just couldn’t handle watching his team almost blow a big lead.