PHOENIX SUNS

Devin Booker scores franchise-record 70 points in loss to Celtics

Mar 24, 2017, 7:38 PM | Updated: Mar 25, 2017, 1:18 am

At one moment in the Phoenix Suns’ 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Boston crowd began to boo after the referees ruled Devin Booker’s three-point shot would not count.

That, among many other things, was a sign that history was happening in Boston.

Booker scored a franchise-record 70 points, obliterating his previous career-high of 39, a mark he reached after three quarters.

The game shifted quickly in the fourth quarter from a player buffing up his numbers on the team everyone knew was going to come out with a loss to a spectacle that everyone watching had to put everything else on pause for to fully appreciate the moment.

The Boston crowd began to “ooh!” at everything Booker was doing in the quarter before emphatically reacting to every miss or make by the 20-year-old in the last few minutes.

“This doesn’t happen very often especially against a really good defensive team like the Boston Celtics,” Booker said. “It’s a zone. It’s kind of hard to explain. I’ve been in those zones before, but never to this extent.”

Booker’s 70-point performance is the 11th in NBA history and the first since Kobe Bryant scored 81 on the Raptors in 2006. He’s the sixth player in NBA history to reach the mark.

No player under the age of 21 had ever scored more than 56 points prior to Booker’s explosion.

After the game, Booker joined Fox Sports Arizona’s postgame show to discuss the remarkable feat.

“Doing it here in Boston, with some of the best fans in the NBA, it was a great moment for me,” Booker said.

Twitter was in pandemonium, with many basketball fans swapping over from the hyped-up Sweet 16 matchup between UCLA and Kentucky to see how many points Booker would end up with.

He was consistently scoring over the course of the game, putting up 10 of the team’s 16 points in the first quarter. He would score 32 points in the next two quarters combined and then 28 in the final period.

This was not just a selfish effort of chasing points, by the way.

Booker had eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in addition to his 70, playing 45 minutes on the night. He took 40 field goal attempts, going 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The most remarkable stat may be Booker reaching 70 with only four three-point field goals.

There was controversy, however, after head coach Earl Watson called timeouts and fouled when the game was essentially over in order to give Booker more time and rest.

Watson said it was about letting his young players be great.

Booker put more of an emphasis on what the moment meant for the team going through a rough season.

He also said he understands where some of the frustration is coming from.

Former Sun Isaiah Thomas also spoke on Watson’s moves late.

“It was weird what they were doing,” Thomas said. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It is what it is. … But I mean it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him the most points possible. Hats off to him. He played a hell of a game.”

Booker did everything he could to give the Suns a win, but at the end of the day, a shorthanded roster against one of the best teams in the league was going to struggle mightily picking up a win on the road to snap the losing streak.

He emphasized that after the game when asked what’s next.

“Start winning, but playing a really good team, a playoff team like the Boston Celtics, it’s tough sometimes,” Booker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Penguin Air
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is congratulated by guard Leandro Barbosa (19) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points, but the Celtics won 130-120. Booker is just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) goes up for a shot against Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (7) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points, but the Celtics won 130-120. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) goes to the hoop against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. The Celtics won 130-120. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) gestures after he scored a basket, while fans cheer him at TD Garden in the fourth quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points in the game. The Celtics won 130-120. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points, but the Celtics won 130-120. Booker is just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker gestures after he scored a basket, as fans cheer him at TD Garden in the fourth quarter of the Suns' NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. Booker scored 70 points, but the Celtics wonp 130-120. Booker is just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa (19) goes to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns forward Alan Williams (15) controls a rebound against Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) and guard Terry Rozier (12) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives against Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder, left, and Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss (0) vie for a rebound in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis (8) drives against Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa (19) goes to the basket past Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (7) gestures after making a 3-point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens speaks to a referee during the first quarter of the team's NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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