April 23, 2024

Devin Booker tops 50 for third game in row against Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS — More than an hour after Monday’s game ended, Devin Booker‘s evening nonetheless wasn’t finished.

With greater than 40 family and friends readily available from Booker’s hometown of Moss Point, Mississippi, lower than a two-hour drive from New Orleans, Booker stood close to the baseline of the Smoothie King Center taking photos.

The Phoenix Suns star was coming off one other standout efficiency against the New Orleans Pelicans in a 124-111 victory.

With 52 factors, Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain as the one gamers in NBA historical past to have three consecutive video games with a minimum of 50 factors against a single opponent.

“Anytime you get named with Wilt, and it’s happened a few times in my career,” Booker stated, “but you know you did something special.”

Booker additionally had 52 factors in the groups’ earlier matchup Jan. 19 in New Orleans. When the groups squared off Dec. 17, 2022, in Phoenix, Booker had 58.

That offers Booker 162 factors in his previous three video games against the Pelicans, essentially the most for any participant in a three-game span against any opponent in the previous 50 seasons. He surpassed the 158 factors James Harden had against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019, in response to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Booker stated he “doesn’t really have an answer” for his success against New Orleans.

“I just feel like I’m playing the same way,” he stated. “I mean, the crib is close. I have a lot of family in attendance. I grew up coming here. It’s the first NBA arena I went to. So there’s some history here.”

Booker began out scorching with a 24-point first quarter and had 37 at halftime because the Suns constructed as a lot as a 26-point first-half lead. They upped the result in 27 in the third quarter earlier than the Pelicans tried to make a comeback.

New Orleans, led by 30 factors from Zion Williamson, trimmed the result in as little as seven in the fourth quarter however Phoenix held on for the win.

Suns ahead Kevin Durant, who was on the courtroom for Booker’s 52-point evening in January against the Pelicans, stated he could not consider what Booker was doing.

“It was like déjà vu as it was happening,” he stated. “You look up, he’s got 20 points in the first quarter. Then what I loved about it, everything was in the flow of the game from the start. Pin downs, catch-and-shoots, cuts to the rim, layups, going through pull-ups. That’s the sign of an otherworldly scorer when you can do it in the flow of the offense like that.”

Suns coach Frank Vogel stated Booker was in assault mode from the beginning.

“If there was space at the 3-point line, he was looking to rise up,” Vogel stated. “If there was an avenue to the rim, he was ducking his head and getting to the rim and getting to the free throw line. So he was doing it in all ways.”

The win pulled Phoenix inside one game of New Orleans in the standings as each groups struggle to remain out of the play-in event.

The Pelicans are the No. 6 seed at 45-30 with the Suns one game behind at 44-31. The groups meet once more Sunday in Phoenix, however Monday’s win gave the Suns the tiebreaker in the season sequence.

The Suns return dwelling for a four-game homestand against the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Pelicans and Clippers earlier than ending with the Clippers, Kings and Timberwolves on the highway. It stays the league’s hardest schedule down the stretch, however the hope is Monday’s win can provide Phoenix momentum.

“Our challenge now is to string together two in a row of those types of performance and then three in a row and keep it going rather than being inconsistent, which we’ve been at times this year,” Vogel stated.