Booker Scores 35 In Suns 116-98 Loss to Denver
After getting pummeled by the Knicks in Phoenix, the Suns traveled to Denver to take on the Nuggets. After being sidelined with a groin injury, Brandon Knight saw minutes off the bench for the Suns, easing himself back in the rotation with a little under 25 minutes of playing time. The Suns had a tough time scoring all night, and lost to the Nuggets by a final score of 116-98.
This game started off decently for the Suns. They didn’t jump out to an early lead, but they didn’t fall to an early deficit either. Tyson Chandler went to work early, scoring seven points in the first quarter while pulling down five rebounds. The Suns had a tough time finding offense throughout the night, and while the game started out close, you could see the night would be a struggle. The quarter ended with the Suns down 25-18, and the lack of offense continued to hurt the Suns throughout the half. Jon Leuer kept the Suns close in the second quarter, scoring the Suns first 10 points in the quarter, including an alley-oop lay up in traffic. The Suns couldn’t do much else, and the Nuggets pulled out to a 14 point lead. Brandon Knight in his first game back from injury hit a tree pointer in the second after missing a few shots, but the Nuggets were able to get back to their 14 point lead by halftime. Denver was up 55-41 at halftime, with the Suns leading scorer being Leuer with 12 points off the bench.
The Suns offense became the Devin Booker show in the second half, with Booker scoring 16 points in the third quarter. His scoring became infectious for a short stint, and three pointers from Ronnie Price, Mirza Teletovic, and Knight helped push the Suns to a 70-69 lead with a little under four minutes left in the fourth. The Suns went ice cold as soon as they got up by one, and Denver was able to push back out to an eight point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Archie Goodwin and Booker were the only Suns able to score for six minutes in the last quarter of regulation, keeping the Suns within ten for most of the quarter. The rest of the Suns players just couldn’t find their offensive rhythm, and the Nuggets were able to push their lead out to as many as 21 points. The final score of the game was 116-98 in favor of Denver. The Suns shot 33-89(37.1%) from the field, a terrible 6-28(21.4%) from the three point line, and 26-33(78.8%) from the free throw line. The Suns will play their next game on Saturday night, traveling to Oakland to take on the Warriors.
Devin Booker was the player keeping the Suns in the game for most of the night. He played 44 total minutes and scored 35 points on 12-24 shooting from the field and 10-11 from the free throw line. He also added in three rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. His only less than stellar shooting came from the three point line, where he only hit one of his five attempts. If you take out Booker’s field goals, the Suns shot 21-65(32.3%) from the field, 5-23(21.7%) from deep, and 16-22(72.7%) from the free throw line. Booker is one of only two players to have 30 points in back-to-back games as a teenager. The only other guy that has done that is LeBron James.
The Only other bright spot for the Suns was Jon Leuer off the bench. He scored 19 points in 17 minutes for the Suns, going 8-10 from the field and hitting all three of his free throws. He was able to add seven rebounds, and was able to show some of what caused him to start in games earlier in the season.