Devin Booker Joins Ranks of Kobe, Wilt, Jordan with 70-Point OutburstMarch 26, 2017
Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker erupted for 70 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and one block across 45 minutes during Friday's 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics. In doing so, he became the youngest player to score at least 60 points in a regular-season game and tied the 10th-highest single-game point total in NBA history, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN.com).
Booker's previous career high was 39 points, which he achieved three times this season on the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
The 20-year-old's performance against Boston marked the best scoring output of any player in over a decade—just 11 points shy of Kobe Bryant's 81-point torching of the Toronto Raptors in 2006. He also joined the club of Wilt Chamberlin and Michael Jordan as the only players to convert 20 field goals and 20 free throws in a single contest, per Elias.
Though he scored the majority of the Suns' points, Booker took the time to thank his teammates after the game, per ESPN.com. "It meant a lot to see my veterans happy. You have to see the beauty in it. At the end of the day, history was made, and I couldn't do it without my team," said Booker.
In just his second year in the league, Booker has established himself as a fundamental part of the Suns' offense, which ranks second in pace behind the Brooklyn Nets at 100.2 possessions per 48 minutes, per Basketball Reference. He boasts a usage rate of 28.4 percent and leads the Suns in scoring, dropping 21.6 points per game on 42.4 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from long range.
Despite Booker's personal success, the 22-51 Suns have struggled this season. In an effort to rebuild, they've recently shut down 26-year-old Eric Bledsoe (knee), 34-year-old Tyson Chandler (coach's decision) and 25-year-old Brandon Knight (back), likely for the remainder of the year, to get their youngest players rotational minutes.
Though the Suns are near the bottom of the barrel, they have an established core of young players led by the excellent shooting stroke of Booker. When that's combined with what will likely be a high lottery pick in next year's draft, the Suns appear to have a bright future in store.