DALLAS – The Suns on Saturday sent out the youngest starting lineup in team history. Part of this was from necessity, part from late-season organizational philosophy.
With center Alex Len out with a right hip issue, coach Earl Watson went small, starting rookie Derrick Jones, Jr., shifting T.J. Warren to power forward and rookie Marquese Chriss to center.
Average age of Phoenix’s five: 22 years, 64 days.
This marks the second time this season the Suns have fielded their youngest starting group. On Nov. 8 – with veteran center Tyson Chandler out – their starters averaged 22 years, 210 days.
This is not a record teams shoot for; it’s just the situation the Suns are in. And in the end, it didn’t matter.
Devin Booker spun and hit a 20-foot jumper just before the buzzer to lift the Suns to a 100-98 win over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Booker – one of three Phoenix starters under the legal drinking age – finished with 36 points, 14 coming in the final quarter.
BOX SCORE: Suns 100, Mavericks 98
Trailing 96-92, Booker twice scored in the lane to knot the contest with 1:10 to go. Dallas forward Harrison Barnes hit two foul shots to put Dallas up 98-96 with a minute left, but Booker struck again. After the Suns got a stop, Booker drove on Dallas forward Wesley Matthews and hit the winner.
The second-year guard made 12 of 20 from the field and 10 of 10 from the foul line. Warren added 16 points and eight rebounds as the Suns improved to 22-44.
Dallas dropped to 28-37. Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki each led the Mavericks with 23 points.