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Devin Booker scores 52 points to lift Suns over Pelicans 

Devin Booker scores 52 points to lift Suns over Pelicans 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Devin Booker scored 52 factors, the fifth-highest scoring sport of his profession, to energy the Phoenix Suns to a 124-111 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night time, bringing them inside a sport of the Pelicans for the No. 6 playoff spot within the Western Conference.

Rebounding from a 128-103 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night time, the Suns (44-31) inched nearer to New Orleans (45-30). The groups play once more in Phoenix on Sunday.

Booker turned the primary NBA participant since Wilt Chamberlain to attain at the very least 50 factors in three consecutive video games towards the identical opponent.

In addition to his 52-point outburst in Phoenix’s 123-109 victory over New Orleans within the Smoothie King Center on Jan. 19, Booker scored 58 factors towards New Orleans in a 118-114 dwelling win over the Pelicans on Dec. 12, 2022.

“It means a whole lot,” mentioned Booker, a local of Moss Point, Mississippi, situated 110 miles from New Orleans, who had 40 family and mates within the stands. “My family was in attendance for two of them. Any time you get named for something Wilt did – it’s happened very few times in my career – you know you did something special.”

Suns coach Frank Vogel mentioned he was in awe watching Booker’s second 52-point sport towards the Pelicans this 12 months.

“There’s something about playing in this building against this opponent,” Vogel mentioned. “(He) just really has a comfort zone here. To go for 50 three straight times against a single opponent … just shows what kind of special player he is. Three times in a row is just incredible.”

Kevin Durant scored 20 factors and Jusuf Nurkic added 19 factors and 19 rebounds for the Suns, who led by as many as 25 factors within the third quarter.

Durant mentioned it was apparent Booker had it going within the first quarter, and the Suns made a concerted effort to get him the ball and display screen tougher to create extra open area.

“It was like deja vu,” Durant mentioned. “As it was happening, I couldn’t believe he was doing it again.”

Pelicans coach Willie Green mentioned there was no excuse for permitting Booker to go off, particularly since they knew his historical past of burying the Pels.

“He hit some shots that we gave him, and he also hit some tough shots,” Green mentioned. “We have to do better. I mean, there’s no excuse to get 50, put on you twice (in a season). Quite frankly, we were soft guarding him. We just had a soft mentality when it came to being physical with him, and he’s a great player, and you can’t allow him to be comfortable.”

Booker’s first 24 factors got here on simply 9 photographs from the sphere within the first quarter – he was 8-of-9 from behind the arc. 

“He came out with a lot of pace and energy,” Pelicans ahead Trey Murphy III mentioned of Booker. “He hit some tough shots, but I think we contributed to it a little as well.” 

In Phoenix’s 123-109 highway victory over New Orleans on Jan. 19, Booker scored 25 factors within the first quarter. His 24-point outburst within the first quarter Monday night time gave him 76 factors in his earlier 5 quarters towards the Pelicans.

The Suns constructed a wall round Zion Williamson on defence, and the Pelicans’ main scorer didn’t take his first shot till late within the first quarter. Williamson completed with 30 factors and 5 assists. Trey Murphy III added 21 factors for New Orleans.

Booker has eight 50-plus scoring video games in his profession.


Suns: Host Cleveland on Wednesday night time.

Pelicans: Host Orlando on Wednesday night time.


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