Suns Beat Clips 112-95, Paul 3rd NBA player with 11K assists


By BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Devin Booker scored 35 points, Chris Paul became the third player in NBA history to reach 11,000 assists and the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-95 on Sunday.

The Suns wasted no time getting started on the blowout. They built an 11-0 lead from the first half and led by 20 points at halftime and again in the third.

Marcus Morris scored 22 points, John Wall added 17 points and Paul George had 16 points in the Clippers’ home opener after winning their first two road games. Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench in his second game of the season.

Paul assisted on the Suns’ first basket of the game, a 3-pointer by Booker. Paul followed up with an alley-oop pass to Deandre Ayton, who dunked, to give him 11,000 assists.

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Paul joined John Stockton and Jason Kidd as the only players in NBA history with that many assists. Paul also became the first player in the league with 20,000 points and 11,000 assists.

Stockton had 15,806 assists and Kidd, now the coach of the Dallas Mavericks, had 12,091.

Fittingly, Paul reached the mark against the Clippers, with whom he played for six seasons and is the franchise’s career assist leader.

Paul finished with seven points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

Last season, the Clippers overcame deficits of at least 24 points four times.

The Clippers didn’t get close to 10 points on George’s 3-pointer late in the third. Booker and Cameron Payne scored to send the Suns into the fourth inning 86-72.

The Clippers were called for offensive fouls on Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac after closing within 12 early in the fourth quarter.

Cam Johnson, former Clipper Landry Shamet and Booker hit back-to-back 3-pointers that extended the Suns’ lead to 99-81, sending the crowd to the exits.

Suns: Shamet (left hip strain) and Johnson (right hip contusion) returned.

Clippers: Reggie Jackson remains limited by a groin injury. He did not score on 0 of 5 shots. … George and Leonard walked to center court to address the fans before the game, with George talking the entire time. He said that the tagline for the team is Why Not Us. “We’re going to get it this year,” George said.

Suns: Host defending NBA champion Golden State on Tuesday to open a six-game homestand.

Clippers: Play Oklahoma City on Tuesday and Thursday in a two-game road trip.

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