Former Kentucky player Devin Booker scored 46 points and TJ Warren added 25 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 115-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Booker made 17 of 32 shots and hit four 3-pointers, including three in the fourth quarter that helped the Suns put away a Sixers team that played one of their worst games of the season. Booker scored 32 points on 11 of 17 shooting in the second half.
Joel Embiid had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Ben Simmons, battling an illness, scored 20 points. JJ Redick led the Sixers with 25 points.
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Redick rallied the Sixers from 17 down and hit consecutive 3s in the fourth that sliced the deficit to five.
Tyler Ulis, also a Kentucky standout, pushed back the Sixers with a 3 and Booker buried two on the next two possessions that squashed the 76ers’ comeback for good. Booker let out a big yell after a fastbreak dunk that made it 110-94 and sent The Process fans toward the exits. Booker added one more 3 for good measure and tossed up his hands with a shrug as he hustled back on defense.
Simmons had the flu and covered his head with his hoodie as he trudged off the court from pregame warmups to the locker room.
“I feel like my body kind of hit a wall,” Simmons said. “I woke up and I didn’t feel like I could play.”
Simmons, who averaged 23.1 points and 9.4 rebounds, was sick for most of the last three days and didn’t leave his place at all on Sunday.
“Out of kindness, I’ve decided to still start him,” coach Brett Brown.
Simmons made his first four shots and played 17 minutes in the first half. Fittingly, his first half highlight was an impressive dunk: Simmons reached high and snared a low lob pass from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot that skimmed Dragan Bender’s outstretched finger and completed the alley-oop. Simmons scored on an up-and-under layup that brought the crowd to its feet.
It just wasn’t enough to bring the Sixers a victory.
Embiid tried to make it a game in the third. He routinely punished Alex Len defensively; Embiid used his right hand to smack a shot into the backboard in the third. The Sixers recovered the ball, Embiid scored and it was 82-75. The Sixers trailed by 10 through three.
The Sixers, shooting 36 percent on 3s this season, missed a whopping 23 of 30 3s.