Booker surpasses impressive Durant record in statement Suns win

When the Phoenix Suns needed Devin Booker against the New Orleans Pelicans, he was there to the tune of 52 points, overtaking Kevin Durant in one scoring area in the process.

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans
Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Just like a video game character running out of lives at a difficult point in the story, the Phoenix Suns entered Monday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans with little room for error. Now perilously perched in the play-in tournament positions, a loss at this critical junture would have been unthinkable.

Which what Devin Booker was surely thinking, as his 52 point masterpiece was more than enough to get his team the win they needed. It also felt like the Suns had been here before as well - as the last time these two sides faced off - Booker also went for 50 points.

Clearly Booker likes playing against the Pelicans, but hanging so many points on a team now only one game ahead of them wasn't even the most impressive part of the night.

But then what was? Could it be the fact that this is actually the third straight time when Booker has burnt the Pelicans for 50? Maybe, but really this just always looks like a favorable match for him. Alright then how about - of the 14 games in the history of the franchise when a player has had over 50 in a game - Booker has been responsible for eight of them?

That is hugely impressive, but Booker's scoring talents have been undeniable for so long that it somehow isn't all that surprising. Even though the organization have had some amazing players suit up for them, who have somehow kept Booker out of the 10 greatest players in franchise history based on Player Efficiency Rating.

What about if we introduce Kevin Durant to the mix. Quite possibly the greatest scorer in the history of basketball, and the current teammate of Booker. Any time you can beat him at anything scoring related it is worth celebrating - and in scoring 24 points in the first-quarter of the game, Booker beat Durant's previous quarter high of 20.

That came all the way back in 2010 - when Durant was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder - and it speaks volumes to where Booker is at as a scorer now that this was the case. To make 8-of-9 shots from deep over the course of the whole game having struggled in that area recently was also a great sight for Suns fans, and Durant was as happy as anybody to see his teammate scorch earth.

Booker's fantastic night does pose a bigger question though, and that is if the franchise should continue having him as their de facto point guard into next season. Bradley Beal has done an excellent job in this role so far this season, the only problem is that injuries took him out of a lot of games in the first half of the campaign.

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But given that Booker led the league in scoring in the playoffs last season at 33.7 points per night - and that the Suns could yet see the Pelicans in the postseason - surely nights like this should convince head coach Frank Vogel to turn him loose on opponents?

Getting him an established floor general - and we recently examined some potential offseason candidates to target - should perhaps be the priority, so that nights like this are what Booker's prime are best remembered for. Outscoring Durant in a quarter perhaps being the catalyst for a shift in the Suns' perspective on this.