Booker’s a Beast – Beat’s Back Spurs

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs /

If the Cleveland Cavaliers game on January 8 was the best second half this season, was today’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs the best game of the year for the Phoenix Suns?

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Playing their second and final game in Mexico City, and following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks who the Suns had been tied with for the worst record in the Western Conference, the Suns dueled – out-dueled – the San Antonio Spurs for their 13th win on the season, handing their arch-rival their 9th loss.

Entering the fourth quarter down only five, the Suns started out on an 8-0 run to take an 88-85 lead, their first lead since it was 25-23 with 15 seconds left in the first quarter.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs /

Devin Booker who came into the 4th quarter after scoring 13 points in the third, kept up an offensive aggressiveness that only Kawhi Leonard on the Spurs could possible attempt to keep up with. While Booker scored eight points in the first 5:11 of the quarter to help put the Suns up 94-86, Manu Ginóbili and Kawhi quickly countered with 6 and 4 points themselves, tying the game at 98 apiece.

While the Spurs took a brief 103-102 lead following a Leonard three, Booker came right with two free throws, a steal off of Ginóbili and on the ensuing fastbreak put a final cap on the 108-105 victory with a dunk.

For the second straight game – and third time this season – Devin Booker scored 39 points, his career-high. Booker did so on 12-22 shooting and 3-5 from beyond the arc. He added 2 rebounds and 2 assists, and was tied for the game-high +10.

And then there’s this:

Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points and dished out 10 assists, the fourth time this season he has had at least 10 dimes.

Tyson Chandler fell two points short of a double-double as he also tore down 15 rebounds. Chandler is on a rebounding tear right now and is averaging 17.4 rebounds in his last five games.

P.J. Tucker may have only finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds, but his 4 steals are indicative of the smothering defense he played all afternoon. Regardless of the player and moment, Tucker’s hard-nosed defense made a huge difference.

The Suns finished with zero blocks for the first time since December 6, against the Utah Jazz. The Suns have gone block-less three times this season now, today’s game against the Spurs was the first time they won.

Kawhi Leonard finished with 38 points on 12-20 shooting and 12-14 from the free throw line. LaMarcus Aldridge was almost a none factor scoring only 13 points and securing only 4 rebounds in 33 minutes.

Paul Gasol scored only 3 points and missed a crucial free throw with 3.7 seconds left that would have given the Spurs an opportunity to foul on the ensuing possession possibly providing the Spurs with the opportunity to tie at the buzzer. Instead, he missed the first, then missed the second on purpose, the rebound coming down to Dragan Bender, essentially ending the game.

Manu Ginóbili and Tony Parker scored 16 and 14 points, respectively. The combined for 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 5 turnovers.

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