NBA

Devin Booker’s 58 points powers huge Suns’ comeback vs. Pelicans

Devin Booker’s 58 points powers huge Suns’ comeback vs.  Pelicans
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PHOENIX — Devin Booker dribbled toward the left corner 3-point line with two Pelicans in hot pursuit before rising up for an off-balance jumper. Coach Monty Williams wasn’t sure that was a great idea.

« I couldn’t make that shot, » Williams said grinning.

But Booker can. And he did.

The three-time All-Star put on a show with one of the best scoring games of his career, pouring in 58 points to nearly single-handedly push the Phoenix Suns past New Orleans 118-114 on Saturday night.

The Suns earned the comeback win barely one week after losing to the Pelicans twice in New Orleans. Booker prides himself as a team player and a willing passer, but on Saturday night, he realized he had the hot hand.

« Once I get it going a little bit, shooting over a hand is the right play, » Booker said.

It’s the second time this season Booker has topped 50 points — he scored 51 against Chicago at home Nov. 30 in just three quarters.

This effort was even more impressive because it brought the Suns back from a 24-point deficit. The three-time All-Star made 21 of 35 shots, including 6 of 12 3-pointers. He added five rebounds, five assists and played the entire second half.

The Phoenix bench and fans loved every minute of it. New Orleans? Not so much.

« I don’t enjoy watching somebody score 58 points on us, » Pelicans guard CJ McCollum said. « It is not enjoyable. »

The Pelicans led 83-59 midway through the third quarter, but the Suns used a 25-6 run to cut that advantage to 89-84 going into the fourth. Booker scored 20 points in the third, willing his team back into contention.

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« It’s unreal, » Paul said. « I’ve had the opportunity to play with a lot of greats — Blake Griffin, James Harden and now Book. Sheesh, you just try not to get caught watching. »

Phoenix tied it at 99 with 7:04 left on Josh Okogie’s free throw. Booker scored a stunning 25 points in a row for the Suns before Okogie’s two free throws, making just about everything he tossed toward the rim as the home crowd roared.

The Suns were clinging to a 111-109 lead when Paul made a crucial 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining. Paul finished with 18 points and eight assists.

The Suns won their second straight game while the Pelicans have dropped three in a row.

Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 30 points and McCollum added 27. Williamson had a solid game, shooting 12 of 15 from the field, but it was completely overshadowed by Booker’s performance.

« You got to give respect when it’s due, » Williamson said. « He put on a clinic. »

The Pelicans pushed to a 34-27 lead after one quarter while shooting 67% from the field. McCollum had 15 points, making 6 of 7 shots, including three 3-pointers.

New Orleans stretched its lead to 63-46 by halftime. Booker scored 22 points before the break on 8-of-13 shooting, but the rest of the Suns shot just 8 of 31 from the field.

« We couldn’t throw it in the ocean if we had been on a boat, » Williams said.

Booker broke the arena record, topping a 54-point game by Gilbert Arenas in 2006 for Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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