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Devin Booker took ownership Friday night. With the home crowd behind Russell Westbrook’s pursuit of history, the Suns second-year guard stole the moment, taking over and sending a message.

Late in the fourth quarter, as he dribbled on the left wing, the Talking Stick Resort Arena crowd booed. They wanted a quick shot, giving Westbrook a chance to secure his record-breaking 42nd triple-double of the season.

Finally, Booker stepped back and fired a 22-foot jumper. As it swished, he turned to the fans behind him, yelling “This is my house! This is my house!”

Booker scored 37 points and the Suns denied Westbrook’s record pursuit, posting a surprise 120-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,055 itching see something special. In the end, they did, just not what they expected.

BOX SCORE: Suns 120, Thunder 99

“I’m at my home arena, and you’re hearing chants (for) another guy,” Booker said. “I actually respect Russell. He brings it each and every night. You can’t discredit what he’s been doing. I’m sure he’s going to get past Oscar (Robertson) for the most triple-doubles, I just didn’t want it to be here. I took that personal.”

With 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Westbrook fell two assists short of breaking Robertson’s record. His assists, however, were enough to ensure that he’ll finish his ninth season with a triple-double average, joining Robertson as the only players in NBA history to do so.

Put simply, however, it wasn’t his night. Westbrook missed his first 11 shots, finishing 6 of 25 from the field, including 2 of 12 from 3-point range. After the contest, he went to the Suns practice court and worked for at least 30 minutes.

“Yeah, man, I just wasn’t myself,” Westbrook said after he showered. “I just got to come out and be ready. I set a standard for myself that’s really high and it’s good for me — sometimes it’s bad for me — but I can live with that and I want to make sure I stay up to my standard and hold up my end of the bargain for the team.”

Just the fact that Westbrook was in range of a triple-double says plenty about his talent. He had six points, seven rebounds and three assists at halftime and 16, 10 and six rebounds through three. All he needed was a strong fourth quarter to break Robertson’s record.

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Instead, Booker took over.

Three weeks after scoring a franchise-record 70 points in Boston, Booker scored Phoenix’s first 21 points of the quarter, his league-high sixth 20-point quarter of the season. With Oklahoma City scrambling to get back into the game, he answered every push. Booker’s 3 with 8 minutes left gave the Suns a 98-80 lead. His 3 with six minutes left put them up 107-82.

Throughout the surge, Westbrook stayed in the game and the crowd started cheering him on, pulling for the assists needed to reach a triple-double. When center Steven Adams passed up a shot inside, fans booed. When Adams passed up a deep 3-pointer – a shot he has not made during four NBA seasons – they booed louder.

The Suns knew Westbrook was in triple-double range.

“He knew, too,” rookie point guard Tyler Ulis said. “He was wide open, trying to find guys.”

“I was 6-for-25,” Westbrook said. “What do you want me to do? I couldn’t make any shots, so someone else can have it.”

On the road, Booker loves to play the villain. It’s something that started during his only college year at Kentucky and has developed over two seasons in Phoenix. He feeds off negative energy, and Friday he showed he didn’t care if it came in Memphis or Phoenix. This is the part of Booker that many don’t know. He’s a gifted scorer, but he’s also a cut-throat competitor.

“It’s kind of on us,” Booker said. “We haven’t played that well this year and we haven’t gave the fans what they wanted to see, but we can take that as a team and get better next year. At the same time, it’s still your home arena.”

In the end, the Suns (23-57) snapped their franchise-record 13-game losing streak, winning for the first time since March 11. They led Oklahoma City by as many as 28 points, trailing only in the opening minute. They also denied Westbrook. Starting Sunday, he’ll have three more chances.

“I want to see him reach history,” Booker said, “just not here in Phoenix.”

Contact Doug Haller at 602-444-4949 or at [email protected] Follow him at Twitter.com/DougHaller.

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