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Ayton shines as Suns pound Knicks 121-98

NEW YORK (AP) Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns are picking up some momentum halfway through the season.

Ayton had 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and the Suns pounded the New York Knicks 121-98 on Thursday night.

''We are only out there for one another,'' Ayton said. ''Without team success, you are not going to reach your individual accolades. That is big on this team and we feed off each other.''

New York lost for the seventh time in eight games, and rookie guard RJ Barrett departed in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Barrett, the third overall pick in last year's draft, was using crutches after the game.

''It hurts. I never really been hurt before,'' Barrett said. ''I don't remember the last time I missed a game. But, we play so many games it was bound to happen.''

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

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.

''Everybody wants to see each other's success,'' Booker said. ''We are working every day. We are not getting complacent. After a win, we are not satisfied. We have goals in-house that we keep as a team that we want to reach.''

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.

''We were behind plays all night,'' Knicks coach Mike Miller said. ''We allowed a good team to take basically advantage of what they wanted to do. We didn't take anything away.''

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

''This is the team we want to be,'' coach Monty Williams said. ''Holding a team under 100 points is really hard and 31 assists is phenomenal. It's a really good win for us. All of them are, but that's a big-time win because of the way we did it.''

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. ... G Frank Ntilikina returned after missing two games with a sore groin.

UP NEXT

Suns: Visit Boston on Saturday.

Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:43   Dario Saric missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:41   Defensive rebound by Elfrid Payton  
11:33   Julius Randle missed turnaround jump shot  
11:30   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
11:22   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Elfrid Payton  
11:17   R.J. Barrett missed driving layup  
11:14   Offensive rebound by R.J. Barrett  
11:16   R.J. Barrett missed dunk  
11:14   PHO team rebound  
11:00   Shooting foul on R.J. Barrett  
11:00   Devin Booker missed 1st of 2 free throws  
11:00   PHO team rebound  
11:00 +1 Devin Booker made 2nd of 2 free throws 1-0
10:48 +2 Taj Gibson made dunk, assist by R.J. Barrett 1-2
10:31 +2 Deandre Ayton made alley-oop shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 3-2
10:16 +2 Julius Randle made driving layup 3-4
10:05   Personal foul on Julius Randle  
10:05   Offensive foul on Devin Booker  
10:05   Turnover on Devin Booker  
9:50 +2 Elfrid Payton made layup, assist by R.J. Barrett 3-6
9:27   Mikal Bridges missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:26   Offensive rebound by Dario Saric  
9:23 +2 Dario Saric made dunk 5-6
9:15   Julius Randle missed layup  
9:13   Offensive rebound by Julius Randle  
9:07   R.J. Barrett missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:05   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
9:02   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
8:59   Defensive rebound by R.J. Barrett  
8:55   Shooting foul on Dario Saric  
8:55 +1 R.J. Barrett made 1st of 2 free throws 5-7
8:55   R.J. Barrett missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:54   PHO team rebound  
8:42 +2 Ricky Rubio made reverse layup, assist by Dario Saric 7-7
8:31 +2 Taj Gibson made driving layup, assist by Elfrid Payton 7-9
8:31   Shooting foul on Devin Booker  
8:31 +1 Taj Gibson made free throw 7-10
8:17 +2 Deandre Ayton made turnaround jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 9-10
7:57   R.J. Barrett missed floating jump shot, blocked by Deandre Ayton  
7:55   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
7:50   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
7:47   Defensive rebound by R.J. Barrett  
7:43 +3 Marcus Morris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Elfrid Payton 9-13
7:25 +2 Devin Booker made finger-roll layup 11-13
7:25   Shooting foul on R.J. Barrett  
7:25   Devin Booker missed free throw  
7:23   Defensive rebound by Taj Gibson  
7:10 +2 Elfrid Payton made reverse layup 11-15
7:03   Devin Booker missed floating jump shot  
7:01   Defensive rebound by Marcus Morris  
6:50   Elfrid Payton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:48   Defensive rebound by Dario Saric  
6:41   Shooting foul on Taj Gibson  
6:41 +1 Deandre Ayton made 1st of 2 free throws 12-15
6:41 +1 Deandre Ayton made 2nd of 2 free throws 13-15
6:29   Shooting foul on Dario Saric  
6:29 +1 Marcus Morris made 1st of 3 free throws 13-16
6:29 +1 Marcus Morris made 2nd of 3 free throws 13-17
6:29 +1 Marcus Morris made 3rd of 3 free throws 13-18
6:12   Bad pass turnover on Aron Baynes, stolen by Julius Randle  
6:08 +2 Julius Randle made hook shot 13-20
6:08   Shooting foul on Aron Baynes  
6:08 +1 Julius Randle made free throw 13-21
5:59   Traveling violation turnover on Deandre Ayton  
5:49   Marcus Morris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:47   Defensive rebound by Devin Booker  
5:37   Devin Booker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:35   Offensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
5:24   Deandre Ayton missed driving layup  
5:22   Offensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
5:21 +2 Deandre Ayton made hook shot 15-21
5:11 +2 Julius Randle made driving layup 15-23
4:50 +3 Ricky Rubio made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Mikal Bridges 18-23
4:38 +3 Julius Randle made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Elfrid Payton 18-26
4:28   Out of bounds turnover on Ricky Rubio  
4:11   Out of bounds turnover on Marcus Morris  
3:57   Shooting foul on Frank Ntilikina  
3:57 +1 Devin Booker made 1st of 2 free throws 19-26
3:57 +1 Devin Booker made 2nd of 2 free throws 20-26
3:44   Frank Ntilikina missed floating jump shot  
3:42   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
3:38 +3 Devin Booker made 3-pt. jump shot 23-26
3:22   Julius Randle missed jump shot  
3:20   Defensive rebound by Devin Booker  
3:12   Devin Booker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:10   Offensive rebound by Cameron Johnson  
3:08   Devin Booker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:08   Defensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
2:59   Frank Ntilikina missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:57   Defensive rebound by Devin Booker  
2:43   Jumpball  
2:47   Lost ball turnover on Devin Booker, stolen by Marcus Morris  
2:31 +2 Frank Ntilikina made driving layup 23-28
2:13   Elie Okobo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:11   Defensive rebound by Kevin II Knox  
2:03   Kevin II Knox missed driving layup, blocked by Cameron Johnson  
2:02   NY team rebound  
2:00   Kevin II Knox missed jump shot  
1:59   Defensive rebound by Jevon Carter  
1:41   Aron Baynes missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:39   Offensive rebound by Elie Okobo  
1:37   Aron Baynes missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:34   Defensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
1:20   Lost ball turnover on Bobby Portis, stolen by Cheick Diallo  
1:16   Cameron Johnson missed driving layup  
1:14   Defensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
1:03 +2 Damyean Dotson made jump shot 23-30
0:51 +2 Cheick Diallo made driving layup 25-30
0:44 +2 Mitchell Robinson made alley-oop shot, assist by Frank Ntilikina 25-32
0:31   Jevon Carter missed jump shot  
0:28   Defensive rebound by Damyean Dotson  
0:10   Frank Ntilikina missed jump shot  
0:08   Offensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
0:07   Bobby Portis missed dunk  
0:06   Defensive rebound by Cameron Johnson  
0:00   Cheick Diallo missed layup  
0:00   Defensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:49   Kevin II Knox missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:46   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
11:37 +2 Deandre Ayton made jump shot, assist by Mikal Bridges 27-32
11:20 +3 Bobby Portis made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Frank Ntilikina 27-35
11:00   Deandre Ayton missed layup  
10:58   Defensive rebound by Kevin II Knox  
10:50   Lost ball turnover on R.J. Barrett, stolen by Cheick Diallo  
10:38   Deandre Ayton missed turnaround jump shot  
10:35   Defensive rebound by Kevin II Knox  
10:29   Frank Ntilikina missed finger-roll layup  
10:27   Offensive rebound by Mitchell Robinson  
10:28   Mitchell Robinson missed dunk  
10:24   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
10:21 +2 Mikal Bridges made driving layup, assist by Ricky Rubio 29-35
10:07   Kevin II Knox missed hook shot  
10:04   Defensive rebound by Mikal Bridges  
10:00 +3 Cameron Johnson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 32-35
9:42   R.J. Barrett missed jump shot  
9:41   Defensive rebound by Cheick Diallo  
9:31   Personal foul on R.J. Barrett  
9:22   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Mitchell Robinson  
9:02   Bobby Portis missed floating jump shot  
9:00   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
8:54   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
8:52   Offensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
8:51   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
8:49   Defensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
8:35 +2 Kevin II Knox made driving layup 32-37
8:21   Cameron Johnson missed floating jump shot  
8:17   Offensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
8:13 +2 Ricky Rubio made jump shot 34-37
7:59 +2 Damyean Dotson made jump shot, assist by Bobby Portis 34-39
7:43 +2 Cameron Johnson made jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 36-39
7:33   Kevin II Knox missed jump shot  
7:31   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
7:27   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Mitchell Robinson  
7:24   Shooting foul on Deandre Ayton  
7:24   Kevin II Knox missed 1st of 2 free throws  
7:24   NY team rebound  
7:24 +1 Kevin II Knox made 2nd of 2 free throws 36-40
7:02 +3 Ricky Rubio made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Mikal Bridges 39-40
6:43   Julius Randle missed hook shot  
6:41   Offensive rebound by Julius Randle  
6:41 +2 Julius Randle made dunk 39-42
6:28   Dario Saric missed driving layup  
6:26   Defensive rebound by Bobby Portis  
6:12   Damyean Dotson missed jump shot  
6:10   Defensive rebound by Mikal Bridges  
6:03 +2 Dario Saric made reverse layup, assist by Ricky Rubio 41-42
5:53   Bad pass turnover on Elfrid Payton, stolen by Devin Booker  
5:51 +2 Devin Booker made finger-roll layup 43-42
5:34 +2 Damyean Dotson made layup, assist by Julius Randle 43-44
5:20 +2 Ricky Rubio made reverse layup 45-44
5:08   Bobby Portis missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:05   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
5:01 +2 Ricky Rubio made jump shot 47-44
4:49   Bad pass turnover on Taj Gibson, stolen by Ricky Rubio  
4:46   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:44   Offensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
4:43 +2 Deandre Ayton made jump shot 49-44
4:34   Personal foul on Ricky Rubio  
4:30   Offensive foul on Taj Gibson  
4:30   Turnover on Taj Gibson  
4:14   Dario Saric missed driving layup  
4:12   Defensive rebound by Marcus Morris  
4:11   Out of bounds turnover on Damyean Dotson  
4:01   Out of bounds turnover on Mikal Bridges  
3:41   Marcus Morris missed jump shot  
3:39   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
3:31   Dario Saric missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:29   Offensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
3:27 +2 Deandre Ayton made layup 51-44
3:16   Bad pass turnover on Elfrid Payton, stolen by Elie Okobo  
3:13 +2 Mikal Bridges made driving layup, assist by Devin Booker 53-44
3:13   Shooting foul on Damyean Dotson  
3:13   Mikal Bridges missed free throw  
3:11   Offensive rebound by Dario Saric  
3:04 +2 Devin Booker made driving layup, assist by Deandre Ayton 55-44
2:42 +2 Elfrid Payton made driving layup 55-46
2:21   Devin Booker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:19   Defensive rebound by Elfrid Payton  
2:16   Shooting foul on Devin Booker  
2:16 +1 Kevin II Knox made 1st of 2 free throws 55-47
2:16   Kevin II Knox missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
2:14   Defensive rebound by Cameron Johnson  
2:04   Bad pass turnover on Dario Saric, stolen by Mitchell Robinson  
1:57   Julius Randle missed driving layup  
1:55   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
1:48   Lost ball turnover on Mikal Bridges, stolen by Kevin II Knox  
1:41 +3 Kevin II Knox made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Marcus Morris 55-50
1:20   Deandre Ayton missed jump shot, blocked by Mitchell Robinson  
1:17   Defensive rebound by Julius Randle  
1:14 +2 Mitchell Robinson made dunk, assist by Elfrid Payton 55-52
0:57   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:55   Defensive rebound by Kevin II Knox  
0:47   Personal foul on Ricky Rubio  
0:35   Julius Randle missed driving layup  
0:33   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
0:32   Personal foul on Elfrid Payton  
0:20 +3 Mikal Bridges made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 58-52
0:03   Elfrid Payton missed reverse layup, blocked by Deandre Ayton  
0:00   Defensive rebound by Deandre Ayton  
0:00   Mikal Bridges missed layup