Booker Impresses in Rising-Stars Game, Drops 23
Suns’ rookie shooting guard Devin Booker got the chance to play in tonight’s NBA Rising Stars Game, and put on a bit of a show. The 19 year-old wasn’t even supposed to be there tonight, but got the call to replace Philadelphia 76ers’ big man Nerlens Noel, who missed due to tendinitis in his right knee. Team USA took the victory in a fast-paced, high energy game, 157-154.
Booker came in off the bench a few minutes into the game and made his presence felt early, draining a three pointer from the left wing. The next time down he converted on a nice fast break layup, followed by a reverse layup on the next trip. The quick seven point burst from Booker put Team USA back within two points of Team World, 46-48.
A dual began after Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja sent back a Booker layup attempt. It seemed like Booker took a bit of offense to that, and hit a three from the corner on the following in-bound pass. A couple of possessions later, Booker hit another three to give him 13 points in just over five minutes of play. Hezonja answered with his own three to keep this back-and-forth action between the two players alive. Booker went on to hit a layup and another three to give end up with 18 points in the half.
Things quieted down for Booker in the second half, but he still managed to hit another one from downtown and throw down an impressive two handed slam from the baseline. My favorite play of the night from Booker actually didn’t come on offense though, which is a bit surprising in an All-Star-like game. Hezonja was on a fast break and looked to have an easy dunk, but Booker sprinted down the court to make sure his “nemesis of the night” didn’t get that easy two points. Even in a meaningless game like tonight, Booker still showed his competitiveness and his desire to not be outdone.
Booker is now set to compete in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest February 13th, around 6:30 MST.