Boston defeated Phoenix 130-120, as All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas led the way with a team-high 34 points (10-20 FG, 3-9 3PT, 11-11 FT) with seven assists. And although Thomas is such an incredible scoring point guard, he didn’t lead the game in scoring.
In fact — it wasn’t even close.
Suns’ second-year shooting guard Devin Booker had a night that many viewers will never forget. He scored a career-high 70 points on 21-40 field-goals, which is the most since L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Booker added eight rebounds, six assists, three steals, and one block in the loss, and was an impressive 24-26 from the free-throw line. This shatters his previous scoring record of 39 points set back on January 13th against the San Antonio Spurs.
It wasn’t the best start for the Suns, as they were down as many as 26 points before Booker’s outburst. Boston began the game with a 22-3 lead in the first quarter, then ended up scoring Celtics dominated from the early going — as they then poured in 37 points in the second.
But as the second half began, Booker gave in one of the best scoring performances in history. The Suns guard erupted for 51 points in the second-half, from deep three-pointers, post-ups, and aggressive drives to draw contact. It eventually became the highest-scoring performance in Phoenix’s 49-year franchise history. Previously holding the record was Tom Chambers, who scored 60 on February 24th, 1990. Booker now joins an elite group of players who have scored 70 or more in an NBA game. That list consists of Wilt Chamberlain, David Thompson, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor, and Bryant.
For a player who’s in his sophomore season, Booker (20) is undoubtedly one of the NBA’ s brightest young stars of tomorrow. With a hybrid of confidence and skill, the Suns will go as far as he goes. And even though Phoenix has concerns regarding their franchise’s direction, they seem to have a plan of condoning a full youth-movement.
With nothing else left, the Suns have shut-down guards Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. This decision was ultimately made in an effort to open the door for not only Booker, but even Tyler Ulis, who of course has recently made a name for himself, draining a game winning buzzer-beater three on March 5th. And ironically enough, it was against Boston, who eventually yielded revenge on Friday.
The Suns have recently been eliminated from playoff contention, but these final nine games will be a great opportunity to experiment their their rotational players. Phoenix will have tough meetings down the line, as they’ll soon take on the L.A. Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Oklahoma City Thunder.