Kevin Durant had a game-high 32 points, Devin Booker added 25, and the host Phoenix Suns watched Chris Paul get a two-technical-foul ejection in his homecoming during the Golden State Warriors’ 123-115 loss Wednesday night. Paul, who spent the last three seasons with the Suns before being dealt to the Washington Wizards in the offseason, got nailed with back-to-back technicals for arguing a foul call late in the second quarter. Phoenix was leading 103-102 when Paul got called for his first technical foul of the game and was ejected after taking exception to a call that would have put the Suns up 114-105 with under a minute left in regulation.
After a long conversation that bordered on taking over the play, referee Scott Foster decided to eject Paul for arguing with him. Standing directly next to the Suns bench, he made it clear that he was upset with what he perceived as a bad call.
Suns coach Frank Vogel challenged the call, and Foster agreed it was incorrect. However, he still wanted to see a replay before making a final decision. After a brief discussion with the NBA’s review official, Foster ruled that Paul had indeed argued with him and that he had been ejected.
The Suns had to reshuffle their lineup due to the ejection, and Booker was the primary beneficiary. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson resting on the bench, they went 28-for-29 from the free throw line in the game, easily surpassing a season-high.
The Warriors found a bit more fluidity on offense in the third quarter and regained much of their defensive grit, allowing them to take a six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
But the Suns could run with the momentum, and two minutes in the final minutes saw the game featured three ties and a lead change. Booker’s pair of field goals — a layup and a 3-pointer — with under a minute to play gave Phoenix the lead and essentially sealed the victory. Durant and Bradley Beal both had their moments, but the latter missed a last-gasp three-point attempt that would have forced overtime in the final seconds. Beal closed with 24 points and 14 assists, while Durant finished with 32 points despite having a rough shooting night. The Suns also dominated on the glass with 39 rebounds to the Warriors’ 20. The win improved the Suns to 3-6, leaving them in sixth place in the Western Conference with a 4-4 record. It was their seventh loss in eight games for the Warriors, dropping to 5-7. The teams meet again in a Feb. 23 rematch at Oracle Arena. The winner will clinch a top-four seed in the West.