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Devin Booker’s streak of 20-point games ends at 16

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
LISTEN: Earl Watson, Suns head coach

It’s been a while since Devin Booker had a game where the number in the points column of the box score was less than 20.

On Jan. 2, the 20-year-old Phoenix Suns guard scored 13 points in a road loss to the L.A. Clippers. The very next night, Booker hit for 27 points in Phoenix’s 99-90 win over Miami (which also happened to be the Suns’ last true home win).

Ever since then, Booker has been good for 20-plus. However, his scoring streak of 16 games with 20 or more came to an end Monday night in New Orleans. Booker hit just 5-of-20 shots, including 1-of-8 from three-point range, and finished with 14 points in a 111-106 loss to the Pelicans.

Booker’s streak is tied for the fourth-longest in the NBA this season — only Boston’s Isaiah Thomas (35 games), Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (19) and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan (18) have had longer streaks. Steph Curry of Golden State is currently on a 16-game streak.

That’s pretty good company.

So what was the reason for Booker’s off night?

“A little bit of fatigue and he just missed shots,” Suns head coach Earl Watson told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He had a couple of shots look really good, he had a big corner three that he missed that he makes nine out of ten times. He played with aggression, he played with purpose.

“I honestly think he just missed shots.”

Booker made his first three-point attempt of the night, a step-back triple over Terrence Jones, just 3:12 into the contest. He’d miss his last seven, including two desperation shots in the closing seconds with the Suns trailing by five points.

Watson isn’t worried about his leading scorer moving forward.

“Most shots that he missed hit back-rim, which is a positive, and he stayed aggressive, so the confidence is not lost,” he said.

During the 16-game outbreak, Booker averaged 26.6 points per game and shot a blistering 47.7 percent from three-point range — more than 12 percent higher than his career mark.

He also had two of the biggest scoring quarters in Suns’ history during the streak. The second-year player exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Mexico City. Last Saturday, Booker went off for 27 in a 7:13 span of the second quarter in a loss to Milwaukee.

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