Devin Booker, Suns rout Pacers despite Justin Holiday's 7 3-pointers

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  • Devin Booker
    Devin Booker
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Justin Holiday
    Justin Holiday
    American basketball player
Jan 14, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Justin Holiday (8) passes the ball while Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee (00) defends in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Justin Holiday (8) passes the ball while Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee (00) defends in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – When the Suns’ offense needed a jump start Friday, they turned to superstar Devin Booker. Youngsters wearing his jersey littered Gainbridge Fieldhouse, and for good reason as the two-time All-Star held off a big night from Indiana's Justin Holiday and powered his team to a 112-94 victory.

The Pacers stormed back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter and took a 76-73 lead on a 3-pointer from Holiday, who drained four 3s in the frame. But Booker came right back and knotted the game with a 3 of his own with 1:11 left in the period, and Phoenix never looked back. Booker’s 3-pointer was the start of a 29-7 run that carried over until the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter.

"The third quarter was tremendous," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Being able to take a lead, as brief as it was, was great to see. We put defense and offense together and got into the type of game that we need to play, which is pace, ball movement and just recognition basketball. End of the third and the fourth (quarters), they just hit us with a run that they are most capable of doing."

Booker scored 22 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter, and Chris Paul took over in the fourth quarter to close the game out. The 36-year-old MVP candidate scored 10 of his 12 points in the final frame and had nine assists.

More: Pacers sign Lance Stephenson to third 10-day contract

The Suns’ third star, DeAndre Ayton, had a noteworthy performance as well. He scored 21 of Phoenix’s 46 first-half points and totaled 27 points on the night. Ayton also grabbed 12 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.

"I was just trying to be aggressive, to be completely honest," Booker said. "Deandre came out and had a dominant first half for us, so I knew that would open opportunities for everybody else. ... I just wanted to impose my will on the game."

Holiday led Indiana with a team-high 25 points and seven 3s, one shy of tying his career high. His 12-point third quarter was his third double-digit scoring quarter of the season and helped the Pacers (15-28) keep it close before the Suns (32-9) pulled away for their sixth win in eight games.

"It was certain ones that I shot that I knew were good, but I didn't even have the greatest form on it. I knew it was gonna go in," Holiday said. "The energy from the crowd, I could feel all of that, and I felt like I couldn't really missing anything at that time. ... Hopefully I can feel like that for the rest of this year and my career."

Fellow starting guard Caris LeVert scored 11 of his 20 points in the third quarter, while two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis added 14 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and six assists.

Indiana held Phoenix to 45.5% shooting, but a Ayton, Booker and Paul each had stretches when they were unstoppable.

"It's extremely difficult, man," LeVert said. "We kind of kept them under wraps for a good part of that game, and they just kind of made their runs, made their spurts when they needed it. And that was big for them down the stretch. … That's definitely somewhere where we aspire to be, finishing games like that because for the first 36 minutes of that game, we felt like we were neck-and-neck."

Myles Turner had another pedestrian performance with five points, seven rebounds and two blocks. He shot 0-for-3 from beyond the arc and is 0-for-13 on 3-pointers over his past four games.

"The important thing is to stick with the process and continue to trust what you know you've down well. We want him to keep lining up every one of those open 3s that he can," Carlisle said. "Sometimes also what happens during a stretch like this is a guy like him gets stuck a few times at the end of the shot clock and ends up having to fling one up there and that's gonna make it seem worse than it is."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers vs. Suns: Devin Booker routs Pacers despite Justin Holiday's 7 3s

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