Devin Booker did just fine in his 1st career playoff series: By the numbers
What would playoff Devin Booker look like?
That was the question asked by those who had not trusted the Phoenix Suns despite them finishing the regular season with the NBA’s second-best record. That question could be applied to most of Booker’s teammates, too.
But as the Suns and Los Angeles Lakers went through their first-round series, it became clear that many traits that defined Phoenix in the regular season continued to show up in the playoffs.
That included Booker, who put together a masterful collection of six games despite the Lakers’ No. 1-ranked defense keying on him from Game 1.
By the numbers, here’s a look at the 24-year-old shooting guard’s first career playoff series capped by a 47-point outburst in the clinching win Thursday.
Booker averaged 29.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the series, dropping 30 or more points in four of the six games.
He saved his best scoring game for last, recording 47 points on 15-of-22 shooting.
47, Part I
Booker’s Game 6 performance puts him in nice company from a historical perspective. It’s the second-most points scored by an NBA player to knock out the defending champions, behind Bob Pettit’s 50 for the St. Louis Hawks against the Boston Celtics in 1958.
Devin Booker's 47 points are the 2nd-most to knock out a defending champ in NBA history behind Bob Pettit's 50 against the Celtics in the 1958 NBA Finals.
Booker's total is the most to eliminate a defending champ on their home court, all-time. pic.twitter.com/OUZ339ovU9
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 4, 2021
47, Part II
Booker is the sixth player to score 47 or more in a Game 6 or 7 on the road. The others: Hakeem Olajuwon, Dominique Wilkins, Ray Allen, Kevin Durant and Jamal Murray.
Booker joins Damian Lillard and Dirk Nowitzki as players in the postseason who have scored 45 or more with a true shooting percentage of 90% or better.
Booker is the second player in Phoenix playoff history to record 45 or more points and 10 or more rebounds (he grabbed 11 on Thursday). Charles Barkley did so twice in his Suns career.
A 22-point first quarter on Thursday was a point off the Suns franchise playoff high of 23 points in a quarter. Steve Nash (third quarter on May 15, 2005, vs. Dallas) and Goran Dragic (fourth quarter on May 7, 2010, vs. San Antonio) scored 23 in a quarter.
Booker got to 22 points by hitting six three-pointers in a single quarter, tying an NBA postseason record. Michael Porter Jr. of the Nuggets on Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers also hit six treys.
Porter and Booker join Damian Lillard and Antoine Walker as record-holders.
Booker put up big numbers by playing a lot.
He topped the 40-minute mark four times against Los Angeles. As of Friday, he ranks first in miles traveled per game on offense (1.67) and 12th in defensive miles per game (1.24) so far this postseason.
His 2.91 total miles per game is third in the NBA right now.
Despite the heavy lifting, Booker was pretty dang efficient. He shot 48.8% from the floor, 42.9% from three-point range and 93.8% from the foul line.
His true shooting percentage, which accounts for three-point and free throw accuracy, was 62.6%.
Among the 12 players in the postseason who play more than 20 minutes per game with a usage rate about 30% — meaning the percentage of possessions that end with a shot or turnover by them — Booker’s true shooting percentage ranks fourth.
That’s behind Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (75.1%), Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant (69.3%) and Denver’s Nikola Jokic (62.7%).
Embiid and Jokic are MVP finalists this season, while Durant is a past MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP.