Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker sets NBA ablaze with scoring spree

With 152 points in three games, Devin Booker solidifies his status as the driving force behind the Phoenix Suns’ championship aspirations. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – As the final buzzer sounded in a matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns nearly four years ago, Devin Booker took off to the locker room disgruntled, shaking his head as he ran into the tunnel without exchanging handshakes with the opponent. The lightly-packed Talking Stick Resort Arena crowd was quiet and disappointed, even though they had just witnessed something special.

Booker had just scored 48 points, capping off a three-game stretch in which he poured in 157 points and became just the seventh player in NBA history to score 150-plus in three consecutive games (59 at the Jazz, 50 against the Wizards, and 48 against Memphis). His silky smooth jumper was being introduced to the national stage, and the efficiency in this stretch was off the charts, as he shot 62% from the field and was 13-for-22 from his patented mid-range area, according to’s shot-tracking numbers.

However, the Suns fell to 17-60 with their sixth straight loss on that March 30, 2019 night, losing at home to the 31-45 Grizzlies. Suns fans wondered if Booker was a player who could also help put wins on the board along with his large scoring numbers. It seemed as if no matter what historical feats Booker accomplished on a game-to-game basis, the Suns would still lose.

“I don’t count myself out of any game,” Booker said after scoring 59 points in a 33-point loss to the Jazz on March 25, 2019. “No matter what the score is, no matter who we’re playing, I’m going full tilt and trying to do everything I can do to get a win.”

Fast forward nearly five years, and after a litany of changes to the Suns’ front office, coaching staff and roster, Booker has done it again.

In the last week of January, he scored 152 points in a three-game stretch against the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, all on the road. His scoring outburst was celebrated by the NBA, which gave him his ninth career Western Conference Player of the Week award, extending his own Suns record (Steve Nash is second with seven POTWs).

Booker kicked off the impressive stretch by putting up 46 at Dallas, 62 at Indiana and 44 at Orlando. His shot-making was deadly again, shooting 65.1% from the field and 54.2% from beyond the arc. He was 13-for-15 from inside the restricted area, and 19-for-32 on pullup jumpers, looking unstoppable from all areas of the court.

“I’m just in the zone, trying to hoop, trying to win,” Booker said nonchalantly last week after the win at Orlando and his third straight 40-plus point game.

Booker’s game, offensive repertoire and mindset hasn’t changed over the years – he took 66 jump shots in the 2019 stretch and 66 jump shots in the most recent 2024 stretch – but the team and the Suns’ expectations look drastically different.

In the 2018-19 season, Booker was the leading scorer for the Suns, averaging 26.6 points per game. Their second-leading scorer was T.J. Warren at 18, followed by Deandre Ayton and Kelly Oubre Jr. each pitching in around 16 points per game. The expectations for the team were minimal, and Booker, still just 22 but putting up historical numbers, was looking for some help after a dreadful 19-63 season.

Now he has Kevin Durant, who Booker flip-flops with in terms of leading the team in scoring, with each averaging around 28 points per game. And with Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkić and Grayson Allen rounding out the starting lineup, his team is stacked.

Perhaps the fact Booker managed to score 152 points while playing next to a future Hall of Famer in Durant and Beal, a former All-Star, is the most impressive part of the feat. Booker was the main guy for Phoenix in 2019 and is still the main guy in 2024.

“He does it at a high level, man,” Beal raved about Booker following the win against the Mavericks. “He’s in a good rhythm, good flow, and we’re going to keep feeding him … we want him to continue to be aggressive, that’s what we need to be successful.”

When asked about how Phoenix dominated the third quarter against Dallas by outscoring the opposition 43-20, first-year Suns coach Frank Vogel kept it simple: “Devin Booker.” He added that “the rhythm of getting stops and getting some looks in transition” helped Booker score highly efficiently.

“He just had a determination with this matchup…he wanted to have a big game,” Vogel said.

Dating back to the 2018-19 season, the determination for Booker to win games has always been there – his spectacular playoff runs since then have proven that. However, the expectations for the Suns are the highest they have ever been.

He is not surrounded by role players, small guards and unconfident big men anymore. Booker, Durant and Beal provide a scoring punch unlike any other trio in the NBA. With the Suns finally healthy and winning nine of their last 11 games, this is a championship-or-bust type of season. And with Booker scoring at an unbelievable rate, he is showing that he is ready to meet those expectations.

Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Asher Hyre expects to graduate in August 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Hyre has interned at Position Sports in Phoenix as a marketing coordinator.