Devin Booker scored 24 points, Jae Crowder added 21 and the Phoenix Suns made 21 3-pointers on the way to a 123-115 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Johnson scored 16 to lead the Suns bench, which poured in 42 points. Dario Saric added 15 points. The Suns finished 21 of 40 (52.5 per cent) from 3-point range.
The Suns have won five of their past six and improved to 6-2, which is tied for tops in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers. Phoenix has continued the momentum it gained at the end of last season, when it won all eight games in the NBA’s Florida bubble and nearly qualified for the playoffs.
The teams met at centre court and linked arms during the singing of the Canadian and U.S. national anthems, reacting to a tumultuous day on which a violent mob supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
WATCH | Raptors, Suns link arms during anthem:
Wednesday’s scene from the Capitol, where the mob delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election, was discussed around the NBA before games tipped off.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse called the events of the past two days: “Disturbing, disgusting, incredulous, sad.
“This just seems to be not-stop, and it seems to not improve.”
Nurse said veteran guard Kyle Lowry met with Suns guard Chris Paul before tip-off to discuss possible actions. He said his team would take the floor with conflicted feelings.
“I’m personally conflicted, and then I always really try to feel where I should fit in, in this picture of things,” the coach said. “Certainly, I talked to the leaders of our team. Always want to give them a platform and open line of communication and then try to evaluate from there what is going on. I support them either way, and if they decide they’re gonna play, then I gotta decide I’m gonna coach ’em to the best of my ability.”
Suns coach Monty Williams said post-game that circling together was: “A sign, a symbol of unity and togetherness that we want to be a part of as a league and a country, We realize these are some different times.”
Pascal Siakam scored 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting and Kyle Lowry added 24 points for the Raptors, who fell to 1-6 and had their six-game winning streak against Phoenix snapped. The Raptors shot nearly 50 per cent from the field but couldn’t keep up with the Suns.
WATCH | 3-point barrage propels Suns past Raptors:
Phoenix led 96-87 going into the fourth quarter and extended its advantage to 105-90 on a corner 3 by Saric with about 9:30 remaining. The Raptors cut the advantage to 121-115 with 35 seconds left but Chris Paul made two free throws to turn back the rally.
The game stayed tight throughout the first half and the Suns took a 58-54 lead into halftime. Crowder scored 15 points in the first half and made four 3-pointers. Johnson came off the bench to add 13 and made three 3s.
Siakam had 19 points before the break, shooting 7 of 10 from the field.