The reactions to Devin Booker’s 70-point game came in waves: first, curiosity — Devin Booker scored how many? Then disbelief — c’mon, for real? Following that came the amazement, incredulity and awe. After all, Booker’s 70-game game isn’t something that happens often. Only five other players have done it in NBA history.
The counternarrative popped up shortly after, coming from the Celtics players and on social media. Booker still lost, they started saying. In fact, the Suns lost 130-120 after trailing by 20-plus points most of the game. Booker only reached 70 because his coach and teammates sold out on getting him touches. Yes, that happened too, and Booker himself admitted it. He knew some of the Celtics didn’t love what the Suns did (like Jae Crowder).
“Which I understand,” Booker told reporters. “We were trying to run up my points.”
The Suns sold out so that Booker could reach 70 points. Phoenix head coach Earl Watson took two timeouts and an intentional foul in the final two minutes to make sure Booker had the time and rest he needed. Without all that, Booker wouldn’t have scored 16 points in the final 2:19 — and no one is denying that.
We can establish all that as fact. Now what?
Those realities are already being used by a few people to belittle what Booker did. Nobody will try to deny he didn’t score a lot — a very lot — of points on Friday, but they can say he wouldn’t have got there without his team propelling him along. They can say the Suns made a mockery of the game, and only in that ridiculous environment could Booker drop 51 points in the second half alone to hit the 70-point plateau.
Suns head coach Earl Watson didn’t see it like that.
Earl Watson "If you don't like it, do something" pic.twitter.com/dGv78SY26p— Coach D (@CoachDouglas21) March 25, 2017
“Do something about it [if you don’t like it],” Watson said after the game. He was just putting Booker into the best possible situation he could to make him successful.
This has been and will be a talking point for why we shouldn’t care as much about Booker’s 70 points, but before we toss out his performance from this elite, six-person brotherhood of 70-point scorers, let’s examine who else actually recorded these numbers.
- Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game: it’s well chronicled how the second half of this game turned into a shitshow with Chamberlain’s team becoming dedicated to get him touching the ball every play.
- David Robinson’s 71-point game came on the final game of the year, with Robinson trying to win the scoring title.
- The same thing happened for David Thompson, who scored 73 points on the final game of the season.
Chamberlain lost three of his six 70-plus point performances, while Thompson lost his game as well. The Suns are terrible this season, and Boston is headed to the playoffs, and nothing about Friday’s game would have changed that. Of course Phoenix will celebrate Booker’s accomplishments, as he explained after the game.
It ends up coming back to one idea: sports is just entertainment. It’s all here for us to enjoy.
Feel free to appreciate Kobe Bryant’s 81 points more because it was a close game the whole way, but understand that certainly doesn’t mean Booker’s should be diminished in any way. You know, without all that fun stuff at the end, Booker almost certainly still would have had at least 60 points — nothing about that is artificial.
What a game. What a show.
And if you’re saying Booker had the worst 70-point game of all time ... just make sure you remember he’s still a 20-year old who still had a 70-point game.
More from Devin Booker’s game
- After the game, Booker roasted Jae Crowder one more time with an Instagram comment
- Here’s why Booker credited Kobe Bryant for his 70 points
- Suns TV brought Booker’s dad on live television to congratulation his son
- Here are nine ridiculous stats coming from the night
The Lakers held Shaquille O’Neal’s statue ceremony
This is one of the coolest statues we’ve seen.
Friday’s top play
JOKIC DID IT AGAIN pic.twitter.com/TSFhpcZM9W— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) March 25, 2017
Friday’s final scores
Cavaliers 112, Hornets 105 (Fear the Sword recap | At the Hive recap)
Wizards 129, Nets 108 (Bullets Forever recap | Nets Daily recap)
Nuggets 125, Pacers 117 (Denver Stiffs recap | Indy Cornrows recap)
Magic 115, Pistons 87 (Orlando Pinstriped Post recap | Detroit Bad Boys recap)
Celtics 130, Suns 120 (Celtics Blog recap | Bright Side of the Sun recap)
76ers 117, Bulls 107 (Liberty Ballers recap | Blog a Bull recap)
Bucks 100, Hawks 97 (Brew Hoop recap | Peachtree Hoops recap)
Rockets 117, Pelicans 107 (The Dream Shake recap | The Bird Writes recap)
Warriors 114, Kings 100 (Golden State of Mind recap | Sactown Royalty recap)
Lakers 130, Timberwolves 119 (Silver Screen & Roll recap | Canis Hoopus recap)