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Suns’ Devin Booker: There’s new energy in locker room, arena

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Phoenix. The Suns won 121-100. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns feel like they are starting to turn things around. After winning 68 games over three seasons, they want to start winning with their youth and build toward a playoff appearance.

They sure got off to a good start in the season opener on Wednesday night, beating the Dallas Mavericks 121-100 in a terrific offensive performance.

That performance received a strong reaction from the home crowd, including big cheers for shooting guard Devin Booker when he checked out with 35 points and seven assists.

Booker said to Burns & Gambo it was one of the loudest moments he’s heard for Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“Man, we were talking about it after the game. I think that night and the night that Russell (Westbrook) was going for his triple-double was pretty close,” Booker said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “There’s a new energy in the locker room, in the arena that we all feel and are very excited about.”

Booker received some “M-V-P!” chants at the free-throw line toward the end of the game, something he joked after the game was too early and he needs to start winning more before those chants are worthy.

The 21-year-old had 19 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, effectively taking over the game and sealing the Suns win.

“We talked earlier in (the) preseason about protecting our home court this year and I think our fans deserve that,” Booker said. “So every time we play at home I feel like it’s going to be a show and we’re going to try to protect our home ground.”

THE BIG FELLA

Booker’s season debut was also his first time playing in a live game with rookie center and No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton. Booker missed all of training camp and preseason due to the surgery he had on his right hand in early September.

The two-guard definitely noticed having the big fella out there.

“It was incredible,” Booker said. “Just his post presence, and not only that — just his ability to make plays.

“You have to pay attention to him, whether he’s scoring the ball or passing the ball. He doesn’t rush — the game just comes to him and he makes the right play every time down court. If he’s getting those good screens and we’re getting the mismatches we want, we’re gonna throw it into him and score, and if he doesn’t have anything he will make a play for somebody else also.”

Burns & Gambo

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