Booker powers Suns; Trail Blazers trade McCollum to Pelicans

Devin Booker (left) and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns look on during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 8, 2022 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AFP)

Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges combined for 58 points and JaVale McGee provided much needed spark off the bench as the Phoenix Suns won their third-straight game with a 114-109 victory over Philadelphia.

Booker scored a game-high 35 points and Bridges finished with 23 as the NBA-leading Suns improved to 44-10 with 22 victories on the road in front of a crowd of 20,700 at Wells Fargo Center arena.

"Our goal is what everybody knows it is," coach Monty Williams said. "But our mission is to do stuff like we did tonight along the way."

Chris Paul had 16 points and 12 assists, McGee tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Jae Crowder grabbed 14 rebounds for the Suns. Starting centre DeAndre Ayton also scored 10 points.

Phoenix had five players in double figures after having six players in double figures in a win over Chicago on Monday.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 34 points and 12 rebounds, making it his 21st consecutive game with at least 25 points. Tobias Harris poured in 30 points and Tyrese Maxey had 14.

Elsewhere, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown each scored 22 points as the Boston Celtics handed the struggling Brooklyn Nets their ninth straight loss with a 126-91 rout in New York.

Boston charged out of the gate compiling a 28-2 lead just seven minutes in and led 35-16 heading into the second quarter.

Brown scored eight points in the Celtics' 14-0 game-opening run.

"We have to keep learning, keep growing and getting better," said Brown. "Things are turning around. A five or six game win streak don't mean much in the NBA. We got to keep going."

Jayson Tatum added 19 points as Boston also won for the eighth time in nine games. Robert Williams collected 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Dennis Schroder chipped in 11.

The Nets fell to 2-10 since Kevin Durant suffered a left knee injury in mid-January. The loss dropped them into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn also played without James Harden (left hamstring), who missed his third straight game and sat out for the fifth time during the skid.

Also, Trae Young and John Collins combined for 54 points to help the Atlanta Hawks halt a two-game losing skid with a 133-112 victory over the short-handed Indiana Pacers.

Young poured in 34 points and 11 assists and Collins delivered 20 points, including 13 in the first quarter.

CJ McCollum was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in a deal that breaks up the Portland Trail Blazers' successful backcourt pairing of McCollum and Damian Lillard, the NBA club announced on Tuesday.

The trade includes McCollum, six other players and three draft picks.

"On behalf of the Trail Blazers organization, I want to thank CJ McCollum for the integral role he has played in the success of the franchise over the last nine seasons and for his countless acts of service to the Portland community," interim general manager Joe Cronin said in a statement.

"CJ has cemented himself in Trail Blazers history with his elite skill level and memorable moments on the court as well as with the work ethic, professionalism and generosity he displays behind the scenes."

Guards Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky and Didi Louzada will join Portland. The Pelicans received McCollum plus forwards Larry Nance and Tony Snell.

Portland will also receive a 2022 first-round pick and two second-round picks from New Orleans in the trade.

The 30-year-old McCollum is in his ninth season. In 36 games, he is averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds.

He missed 18 games earlier this season with a collapsed right lung suffered in a December 4 loss to the Boston Celtics.

The Blazers have made the playoffs every season since the team drafted McCollum in 2013, a year after picking Lillard.