After a couple of games back to re-establish his rhythm on the road, the home Phoenix Suns crowd – and Kevin Durant – got to see the real Devin Booker again.
DBook returned to the Suns after missing more than a month during the team’s recent road trip. Phoenix won both games, and Booker averaged 20 points on about 40% shooting. Some players may take that and be happy, but that is not who Booker is. Instead, DBook is a basketball savant with an incredible midrange game, and it was on display on Tuesday evening at Footprint Center.
Booker was not alone, with Ayton again scoring in bunches for the Suns
Although DBook has been looking to attack early, and he did score eight of Phoenix’s first 19 points, the other eights and six of the Suns’ first eight came from center Deandre Ayton. The Suns’ big man had his mid-range jumper going, and the Kings had no answers for him in the paint.
On the night, the Suns had 22 more points in the paint than Sacramento, outscoring the Kings 62 to 40 in the lane. Ayton led this charge with 27 total points, including several thunderous dunks, thanks Josh Okogie.
Ayton and to some extent, Booker were able to have such efficient nights, shooting a combined 26 for 37 from the field (70%) because they were being well-fed. Chris Paul led the way, dishing out 19 of the team’s 33 assists. The ball movement was contagious, as eight of the ten Suns who played had at least one assist.
The Phoenix night again belonged to Booker, and it was fabulous
Two elements of Booker’s 32-point night stand out. First, DBook did not attempt a single three-pointer. It was Booker at his half-court best when the Suns were in possession, and that will only get better with Durant coming to the court soon. Second, Booker showed everyone there were no lingering concerns about his groin.
For two of Paul’s 19 assists, Booker was able to get out on the break, showing everyone in the building and watching the game he was fully healthy. With two explosive dunks, DBook slammed the door on any concern about his injury, looking as fit as we’ve seen him all year. Book was out in the open on the first dunk, and it took everyone by surprise as he threw it down hard, and Sacramento called a time-out. He took a little contact on the second and went for it on top of Kevin Huerter.
In the end, De’Aaron Fox led all scorers with 35, but the night belonged to Booker, who showed everyone he was back and not alone as Ayton and CP3 did their part. Now the Suns have one more game before the All-Star ‘break,‘ which hopefully can be one more win.