Suns' Devin Booker scores 70 points in losing effort vs. Celtics

BOSTON -- Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 points in a game, accomplishing the feat in Friday night's 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

Booker joined Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and Kobe Bryant as players to reach 70 in one game. It was the 11th 70-point game in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Booker finished 21-of-40 shooting overall, including 4-of-11 on 3-pointers, and 24-of-26 from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds and six assists in 45 minutes.

"This doesn't happen very often," an exhausted Booker said as he shuttled through postgame media duties. "Especially against a really good defensive team like the Boston Celtics. I knew I was going to have to come in, lock in mentally tonight -- playing at Boston isn't easy all the time. They made it tough for me in the first half, and I tried to get it going. I was ultra-aggressive, my teammates started finding me, they started setting really good screens for me and the rest is history."

Suns coach Earl Watson utilized multiple timeouts and intentionally fouled throughout the fourth quarter, which aided Booker's quest for 70 points. While fans at TD Garden embraced his scoring outburst and cheered -- particularly with the Celtics out front by double digits -- Boston players seemed less than enthusiastic about the way the Suns ran up Booker's scoring total.

Watson was unapologetic about the way he approached the final minutes.

"It's basketball," he said. "I'm not coming to any arena just happy to be there, trying to be liked. 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. If people don't like us, why we build it, so what? Do something about it. Simple as that.

"It's about letting our kids be great. You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that."

Booker noted how Watson was his player development coach before becoming the Suns' head coach and said he appreciated the way Watson tried to help him.

Asked whether it was weird to celebrate a 70-point game despite losing, Booker offered a poised explanation.

"It is [weird] because we've all been winners most of our life," he said. "But at the same time, the way our season's gone right now, we're kind of looking for something to celebrate. And that meant a lot to see my veterans happy. Tyson Chandler cheering me on. Jared Dudley had 10 assists tonight looking for me every time downcourt. It is [weird] sometimes, but 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, so they're gonna celebrate."

The NBA posted Dudley's locker room snapshot of Suns players huddled around Booker with a "70" sign on its Instagram page. A comment posted from Celtics forward Jae Crowder's account (and later deleted) said, "Never seen so many guys happy after an 'L'."

Asked about jawing with Crowder during the game, Booker said: "We were just messing around. Crowder's a really good player. He said, I think at the start of the fourth he said, 'You're not going to get 50.' I said, 'I wish you were out here.' I think he was sitting at the time. We were just exchanging throughout the rest of the game. Like I said, I respect the Celtics, what they've done here, the storied franchise that they have. Best of luck to them in the playoffs."

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas looked unamused on the court.

"It was weird what they were doing," Thomas said. "I've never seen nothing like that, chasing those numbers. But it is what it is.

"I don't think anybody's ever seen that. To continue to call timeouts, continue to foul when we're up 15. But it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him the most points possible. And hats off to him, though. He played a hell of a game."

Booker topped Klay Thompson's 60-point effort from December for the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season. He had 51 second-half points, including 28 in the fourth quarter, when the Suns intentionally fouled and used their timeouts to help Booker run up his point total.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Booker, 20, is the youngest player to score 70, or even 60, points in a game. He had the highest-scoring game in the NBA since Bryant scored 81 in January 2006.

It was the ninth game of 50 points or more in the NBA this season and the most points scored by an opponent against the Celtics, eclipsing the 64 points scored by Baylor with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959.

Despite Booker's offensive exploits, the Celtics never trailed during Friday's game and led by as much as 26.

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Devin Booker put himself in the history books with 70 points against the Boston Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden, setting a franchise record for the Phoenix Suns for points in a game.

While the Celtics earned a 130-120 win, Booker provided a glimpse of his potential with one of the best individual efforts you will see all season.  

No one else on the Suns scored more than 11 points, with Alex Len and Leandro Barbosa the only players in double figures.

He took just about every one of Phoenix's shots in the fourth quarter while trying to carry his squad back into the game. Although Booker wasn't able to secure the comeback, he put together one of the best showings the NBA has seen in years.

Booker entered the game averaging 20.9 points per game, second on the team behind Eric Bledsoe. If Friday's effort is any indication, the former Kentucky star and second-year player has a chance to be one of the top guards in the league before long.

The Charlotte Hornets will try to slow him down in the Suns' next game Sunday at Spectrum Center.

Devin Booker cooked Jae Crowder one more time with an Instagram comment

The second hottest thing on Friday night — after Devin Booker, who became the sixth player in history to score 70 points — was the comment section of this Instagram post by the NBA.

That’s an amazingly cool photo of the Suns celebrating Booker’s ridiculous evening, in a clear homage to Wilt Chamberlain’s “100” photo. However, one Celtics player couldn’t help but be a little bit salty.

Here’s Jae Crowder’s comment:


Booker admitted the Suns were intentionally extending the game attempting to help him score as many points as he could, because of course they were! Who can blame them? Isaiah Thomas brushed it off by saying, “We’re headed to the playoffs and they’re headed to the lottery,” which is totally accurate. But Crowder wasn’t content, so Booker cooked him one more time with an all-too-simple reply:

“you can’t guard me.”

Crowder backed off a little and appeared to delete his original comment.

Still, there’s nothing like a good Instagram beef to liven up the scene after a 70-point game. I mean, hell, after that Booker roast, we might have to add three more points to his total or something.

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