Sport

Booker, bench lead Suns past skidding Jazz as Ayton returns

The Phoenix Suns picked up a much needed victory on Monday night, as Devin Booker and the bench helped the team to a 118-97 win over the struggling Utah Jazz. The win came after the return of center Deandre Ayton, who had been out since October due to a suspension.

Booker, who has been carrying the load for the Suns all season, finished with a team-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He also had four assists and four rebounds. The Suns also got a big contribution from their bench, with Cameron Payne, Tyler Johnson, and Dario Saric all scoring in double figures.

The Jazz, who have been struggling since the All-Star break, got a solid performance from Donovan Mitchell, who finished with 24 points and eight assists. However, the Jazz were unable to keep up with the hot shooting of the Suns, who shot 52.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three-point range.

The Suns also had an advantage inside with the return of Ayton, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds in his return. Ayton's presence in the paint helped the Suns control the boards, as they out-rebounded the Jazz 53-35.

The win was a much needed one for the Suns, who have been struggling since the All-Star break. With the win, they improve to 22-13 and remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. The Jazz, meanwhile, fall to 17-18 and remain two games out of the eighth seed.