Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns made history Friday night by scoring 70 points in an NBA game—the youngest player ever to reach that number. Booker, 20, is only in his second season and was drafted by the Suns back in 2015.
According to SBNation, before Friday’s electric performance, “no player under 21…had ever scored more than 56 points in a game.” Devin decided to change that.
In the first half, he put up a robust, if relatively modest 19 points, and then followed that with a stunning 51-point run in the second half. The 70-point total makes Booker the sixth player in NBA history to achieve that figure. The other members of the elite club are some of the greatest legends of the sport: Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor, and David Thompson.
In addition to breaking the NBA record, Devin Booker likewise set two franchise records for the Phoenix Suns. He eclipsed the 60-point high set by Tom Chambers in 1990 (on the very same day that record was set, March 24), and also surpassed Eddie Johnson’s feat of scoring 43 in a half.
What makes the accomplishment even more impressive is that it came against a tough Celtics’ team, which is currently trying to chase down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics ended up winning the game 130-120, but the performance put on by Devin Booker nonetheless stole the show.
How It Happened
Remarkably, Booker only made four 3-pointers throughout the entire game. He took 40 shots in total, made 21 of them, and tallied up another 24 at the free throw line.
Though the game was played in Boston, a dramatic shift in energy could be felt coming from the stands as Booker continued his scoring spree. The Celtics had too comfortable a lead to suggest the Suns might stage an upset, and this provided Boston fans with the leeway to cheer on Booker as his point total climbed.
In the final minutes of the game, every basket that Devin made was answered by roars from the stands. And when a call from a referee took away an astonishing 3-point play from Booker, the fans joined in a chorus of booing. It felt almost like one were watching a Suns’ home game rather than a contest played at TD Garden.
As Devin said in a post-game interview, that support from the Boston fans came as a big surprise.
Like I said, I have the utmost respect for the Boston Celtics’ fans. You know, that surprised me the most. They started cheering a little bit, and…knowing how hectic they are against some teams, that meant a lot.
Despite the warm reaction from the fans, some of the Celtics’ players nonetheless slighted the accomplishment.
Isaiah Thomas, who gave a tremendous performance in his own right, said after the game, “It was weird what they were doing. I’ve never seen nothing like that—chasing those numbers. I mean, it is what it is.”
“I don’t think anybody’s ever seen that. I mean, continue to call timeouts — continue to foul when we’re up 15. But, I mean it was obvious what they were trying to do — give hime [sic] the most points possible. I mean, hat off to him though, he played a hell of a game.
Jae Crowder, who plays forward for the Celtics, likewise took a jab at the Suns. On an Instagram post showing a picture of the team surrounding Booker, whose holding a “70” sign, Crowder commented, “NEVER SEEN SO MANY GUYS HAPPY AFTER AN ‘L.'”
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) March 25, 2017
Despite the snubs, there’s no doubt that Booker’s 70-point performance is a major accomplishment. And given the fact that Devin is only 20-years-old, the future is looking awfully bright for the Phoenix franchise. Let’s see what he can do when he turns 21.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]