MORE than once Devin Booker has been compared to a young Kobe Bryant. Lofty comparisons for a 20 year 2nd year pro, who is playing on a struggling Phoenix Suns team. The former Kentucky Wildcat has bumped his output to eclipse 20 PPG a night this season and is one of the bright young stars of the NBA, that much was certain. But on Friday night, Booker officially arrived.
70 points in an NBA game is a feat that has only been accomplished by five players before Friday. Wilt Chamberlain (who did it six times), David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson and Kobe Bryant. After Booker’s scoring binge he can add his name to that list of NBA legends. He went OFF for 51 points in the second half, including 28 in the 4th as he tried to steer the Suns back to victory against Boston. His 70 points were the most by a 20 year old in the history of the league. It was the highest output ever from a player at the prestigious TD Garden, and the most scored by a Boston Celtics opponent in their 5551 game history.
YOU do have to mention that the Suns used their timeouts strategically and intentionally fouled to allow Booker to run up a higher points tally. But can you blame them? Ever since Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire left town, fans have had very little to cheer about. They have only had one winning season in the past seven years and have gone 45-110 in the last two combined seasons. So when you have a young transcendent star like Booker who is having an ultimate heat check game, you want to prolong it for as long as possible. Head coach Earl Watson was asked about the tactics post game and said: “I don’t care about being liked. I really don’t care, to be honest with you. We’re coming in here, we’re trying to build something with this young group.”
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WITH another high lottery pick destined to arrive in Phoenix next season and a solid young core to work with, all of sudden the future looks much brighter for the Suns. Devin Booker’s continued development will determine the ceiling of this team in the coming future, but his eruption tonight against Boston helped to continue restoring the faith of fans. A future star of the league, no matter how many shots it takes you, no matter how many fouls or timeouts your team helps you with, and no matter the result of the game, 70 points is 70 F*CKING points. If ‘young Kobe’ can have more nights like this who’s telling what he is capable of.
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