Star guard Devin Booker scored 52 points in Friday’s road win over the Pelicans, and after hitting his sixth 3-pointer, he looked up behind the Suns’ bench, where his father and grandfather were sitting.
“I got 50 folks out there and I’m about to go see them,” Booker told reporters. “That’s where my main motivation comes, from all my family that’s here. They drive over every time I play here and I like to put on a show for them.”
- Last time Booker surpassed 50 points was also against the Pelicans — when he went for 58 on Dec. 17, 2022. “The guy’s just got an incredible killer instinct,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “He had that look in his eyes tonight.”
- Forward Kevin Durant added 26 points and center Jusuf Nurkic grabbed 15 rebounds. “It was a great team win, but Book was spectacular,” Vogel added. “He was able to torch these guys, but when the double-teams came, he shared it.”
Rookie center Victor Wembanyama sat out Friday’s loss to the Hornets, his sixth missed game of the season.
Wembanyama sprained his ankle on Dec. 23 and the Spurs have been cautious with his playing time. The reason for his absence Friday was listed as “rest.” But coach Gregg Popovich said that wasn’t actually the case.
“No, it’s not rest, it’s doctor’s orders,” Popovich told reporters. “He’s been working on his body and he has got a minutes restriction and is not allowed to play back-to-backs right now. It will probably change very soon but for now, we have to abide by that restriction.”
- The Spurs have lost four straight and fell to 7-34. They visit equally woeful Washington on Saturday.
Forward Jerami Grant erupted for 37 points and the Trail Blazers spoiled Pascal Siakam‘s debut with the Pacers on Friday. The game also marked the return of Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton from an eight-game absence.
So it’s safe to say this was one of the Blazers’ few bright spots of the season.
“We had so many people contribute,” coach Chauncey Billups said. “It’s a difficult team to play against. It really is. Their pace, and their pace in the halfcourt is as deadly as anybody’s, their shot-making is very dangerous. I would say our game plan discipline stood out for me.”