‘Otherworldly scorer’ Devin Booker puts up 52 points to lift Phoenix Suns over New Orleans Pelicans




CNN
 — 

Devin Booker scored 52 points as the Phoenix Suns recorded a vital 124-111 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

The win moves Phoenix to within one game of the Pelicans in sixth place in the Western Conference, the final automatic playoff spot, as both teams bid to avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Booker – who shot an efficient 67.9% from the floor, including 8-of-16 from three – also registered nine assists as all five of Suns starters scored in double figures, with center Jusuf Nurkić putting up 19 points and 19 rebounds and Kevin Durant registering 20 points and seven rebounds.

Remarkably, it was the third straight game in which Booker has scored 50 or more points over the Pelicans, making him the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to register at least 50 points in three consecutive games over a single opponent, according to ESPN stats.

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

“I just feel like I’m playing the same way,” Booker added when asked about his recent success against New Orleans. “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.”

The Suns led by 27 points in the third quarter, but the Pelicans came back to close to gap to just seven in the fourth to set up a nervy finish.

New Orleans was led by Zion Williamson, who had 30 points and five assists, while Trey Murphy III added 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 01: Bradley Beal #3 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball around Dyson Daniels #11 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the fourth quarter of an NBA game at Smoothie King Center on April 01, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

However, it wasn’t enough to stop Booker and the Suns leaving New Orleans with a crucial victory.

Durant said watching Booker, who also had 52 points against the Pelicans in January, was “like déjà vu.”

“You look up, he’s got 20 points in the first quarter,” he said, per ESPN. “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.”



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