It's amazing what fresh, 19-year-old legs can accomplish.
Last night Devin Booker dropped 32 points on the Knicks in 39 minutes. Then the Suns had to travel to Denver to play the very next day. Rather than rest, Booker logged 44 minutes tonight and scored a career-high 35. It is the third time he has topped 30 points in the last week alone.
The third quarter was the only time when the Suns seemed to have control over the game, as they were significantly outscored in every other quarter. The first half was especially ugly as Jon Leuer was at one point the only player who could find his shot. Leuer finished with 19 points and seven boards in 17 minutes.
The other major news of the night besides Booker's career-high was the return of Brandon Knight. Unfortunately, it was not a promising return to action. Knight played close to 25 minutes and finished 2-9 from the field with 10 points, five assists and three turnovers.
Alex Len also struggled tonight, as the seven-footer shot just 2-13 from the field despite having a lot of opportunities at or near the rim. He was blocked not once, not twice, but six times by the Denver defense.
Overall Phoenix just 37% from the field and 21% from deep. Were it not for Booker's tremendous performance, this would have been a very forgettable evening.
But Booker was not the only rookie who shined on the court tonight. Point guard Emmanuel Mudiay finished with a career-high 30 for the Nuggets, shooting 13-20 from the field and 4-7 from three-point range. Mudiay is not known as a shooter, but he found his stroke tonight and relentlessly penetrated the Suns' weak interior defense.
The Nuggets also bombarded the Suns with 13-29 shooting from long range to solidify their lead and ultimately take the game.
Devin Booker, this is your night. Again. Unfortunately it seems like all of Booker's greatest games are in losses, but hopefully that changes once his supporting cast improves.
The Suns' next game will be on Saturday night against Golden State at the notorious Oracle Arena. Brandon Knight will likely be replacing Ronnie Price in the starting lineup, though that hardly improves the team's chances at scoring an upset over Kerr's squad.
Now that Knight is back it will be interesting to see just how well he can co-exist with Booker. If Booker continues to play like this it's hard to believe that the front office would prioritize Knight in the future. That is, unless it comes down to choosing between Knight or Bledsoe to be Booker's PG and running mate.