Ayton Shines As Suns Pound Knicks

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points.


NEW YORK (AP) — Deandre Ayton had 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns pounded the New York Knicks 121-98 on Thursday night.

The Suns shot 51% (47 for 92) from the field and placed five players in double figures in their third win in four games. Devin Booker scored 29 points, and Ricky Rubio had 25 points and 13 assists.

Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, was 11 for 15 from the field in his 11th game this season. The 6-foot-11 center played on opening night, and then served a 25-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug program after testing positive for a diuretic. He sprained an ankle in his return to the lineup Dec. 17.

Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points. Marcus Morris Sr., who returned to the starting lineup after missing five games with a sore neck, had 17 points, and Mitchell Robinson finished with 12.

New York opened a 35-27 lead on Bobby Portis’ 3-pointer with 11:20 left in the first half. But Phoenix ripped off 28 of the next 37 points to go in front for good.

The Knicks pulled within four on Morris’ jumper early in the third before the Suns pulled away again. Dario Saric’s layup made it 79-66 with 6:40 left in the quarter.

Saric scored 11 points for Phoenix, which led by as many as 29 in the final quarter.

RISING SUNS

At 17-24, the Suns are off to their best 41-game start since going 23-18 in 2014-15. After 41 games last year, the Suns were 9-32.

TIP-INS

Suns: Kelly Oubre Jr. is in concussion protocol and missed his first game of the season. Only Saric and Mikal Bridges have played in all 41 games for Phoenix. … Rubio returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday’s game at Atlanta for personal reasons.

Knicks: Portis is the only Knick to play in every game this season. … Dennis Smith Jr. missed his 11th straight game with a left oblique strain. He last played vs. Washington on Dec. 23. … Reggie Bullock, who shot 0 for 8 during Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee, sat out with a sore neck. … Ntilikina returned after missing two games with a sore groin.

UP NEXT

Suns: Visit Boston on Saturday.

Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.

(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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