Cameron Johnson and Devin Booker combined for 18 first-quarter points Friday afternoon, helping the Phoenix Suns build a big lead en route to a 125-112 victory over the Washington Wizards in each team’s opener in the NBA bubble near Orlando.
Booker finished with a game-high 27 points and Deandre Ayton registered a 24-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Suns (27-39), who entered the resumption of play with the worst record among the 13 Western Conference teams still alive.
Rui Hachimura paced the Wizards (24-41) with 21 points.
Desperately needing a win in the opener of a schedule that gets progressively tougher, the Suns wasted little time distancing themselves from the Wizards, who are without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans for the rest of the season.
Johnson, a rookie who had averaged just 8.1 points before the break, responded to his second start of the season with a 3-pointer and three-point play among 10 first-quarter points as the Suns ran up 38 points in the period to take a seven-point lead.
The Wizards seized a brief 46-44 lead at the 7:17 mark of the second quarter on a Thomas Bryant jumper. But Phoenix, which was missing Kelly Oubre Jr. and Aron Baynes, ran off 16 straight points to grab command for good 4:16 before the half.
Mikal Bridges and Cameron Payne buried 3-pointers in the run, which put Phoenix on top 60-46.
Washington got no closer than seven in the second half.
Dario Saric (16), Ricky Rubio (15), Bridges (13) and Johnson (12) joined Booker and Ayton in double figures for Phoenix, which returns to action Sunday night against Dallas.
Rubio also found time for a game-high nine assists in a balanced Suns attack.
Along with Hachimura, who had a team-high eight rebounds, Jerome Robinson (20), Ish Smith (17 to go with a team-high seven assists), Troy Brown Jr. (15), Shabazz Napier (12) and Bryant (10) scored in double figures for Washington, which failed to gain ground on Brooklyn (30-35) in their duel for eighth place in the East.
The Suns outshot the Wizards 52.5 percent to 46.2, earning a season-series split after Washington had won at Phoenix 140-132 in November.