Booker, Rubio help Suns race past Giannis-less Bucks

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives as Milwaukee Bucks guard Wesley Matthews defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Devin Booker scored 20 of his 36 points in Phoenix's 47-point first quarter and the Suns beat the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks 140-131 on Sunday night,

The Bucks played without MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo because of a minor knee sprain. Injured Friday night in a loss at the Los Angeles Lakers, he'll also sit out Monday night at Denver.

Ricky Rubio had a triple-double for the Suns with 25 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds, becoming the first Suns player since Steve Nash on March 30, 2005, with at least a dozen points, assists and rebounds.

“It is an honor for me,’’ Rubio said of being in the same statistical realm of Nash, a player he has long admired.

Aron Baynes added 24 points, and Mikal Bridges had 21.

Khris Middleton scored 39 points for Milwaukee. Former Suns guard Eric Bledsoe had 28.

“It is hard to win three quarters and lose a game by nine,’’ Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Still, it was a huge hole. They did a lot of things well.’’

After the Bucks cut their deficit to eight points, Baynes threw down a dunk, banked in a layup and nailed a 3-pointer. Milwaukee rallied to close with within six, 134-128, and the Suns finished it off at the free-throw line.