Devin Booker scores 51 points in three quarters in Suns win
PHOENIX — Devin Booker made the Chicago Bulls pay for a lackluster defense with a few midrange early jumpers. Then he made a few more. And a few others.
Suddenly, it was one of those nights for the Suns All-Star guard.
“It felt like a double rim,” Booker said. « If I get up, it goes in. »
Booker scored a season-high 51 points in just three quarters, Deandre Ayton had 30 points and 14 rebounds and Phoenix extended their winning streak to six games with a 132-113 win Wednesday night.
Booker scored 25 points in the first half and had 26 more in a sublime third quarter that included 10 of 11 shots. After a disputed 3-pointer splashed through the net, “MVP! MVP! » chants erupted through Footprint Center, and the 26-year-old is certainly making a case for the start of the season.
« It’s the best, » Booker said of the home crowd. “I don’t know how many sell-out crowds it is in a row, but it’s impressive. Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, any day of the week. They introduce themselves and show themselves.
The three-time All-Star had a steal late in the third before sprinting down and driving home a dunk for his 50th and 51st points. He added six assists and four rebounds.
« A guy like that picks up a pace and it’s too late, » Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. « He gets into it and it’s over. »
Booker didn’t play in the fourth quarter with the Suns holding a solid lead.
Even more notable than Booker’s point total was his efficiency. He shot 20 of 25 from the field, going 6 of 7 from 3-point range. He is the second player in the last 25 years with 50 points and 80% shooting in the first three quarters of a game, joining James Harden in 2017, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
« There’s not a level where he can’t score, » Suns coach Monty Williams said. « He can use both hands, he can score with one hand in the face and he’s ready to take the hard knocks. »
It was Booker’s second straight 40-point game. He was 44 in a victory in Sacramento on Monday night. The Suns have the best record in the Western Conference at 15-6 and have won 12 of 13 games at home.
The Bulls struggled on defense all night, especially against Booker and Ayton. Chicago coach Billy Donovan was particularly angered in the third quarter, angrily calling a timeout after Phoenix scored a few easy buckets.
DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 29 points. Zach LaVine added 21.
The Suns took a 64-43 lead at halftime. Booker roasted the Bulls with 25 points before the break, repeatedly finding open jump shots from mid-range.
« We threw everything at him, » Donovan said. “We trapped him, we threw him a box and another. We tried to cope with him and to his credit we had a great night.
Phoenix shot 58% in the first half. Chicago only made 1-of-14 (7.1%) of their 3-point attempts.