The Phoenix Suns’s stock in trade has always been prolific offenses. From the Cotton Fitzsimmons’ teams of the 1980s and 1990s to Mike D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less squads, the emphasis in Phoenix has always been on scoring points moreso than preventing them. Despite this, in its high-scoring history the Suns had only produced five 50-point individual games prior to Devin Booker’s historic night. Here are those games.
#5 - Amare’s Dunkfest in Portland
In the 2002-2003 season, Amare Stoudemire burst into NBA consciousness and won Rookie of the Year. In his second year, he won no awards, despite averaging 20.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. In his third season, however, he hit a lottery all its own: he was paired with point guard Steve Nash. In his roughly five and half seasons with Nash running the offense, Stoudemire became an All-Star and one of the league’s premiere offensive threats. While he would eventually develop a silky smooth 20-footer to pair with his inside game, his early game had no such nuance. So when he dropped 50 on Portland, he literally dunked all over them. I think his putback for points 43 and 44 is my favorite highlight below.
#4 - Uncle Cliffy Smokes the Nuggets
Cliff Robinson is somehow only the second most unlikely name on this list. In 20(!) NBA seasons, he only made one All-Star game. In the 1999-2000 campaign, he was 6 seasons removed from that All-Star season and 3 years removed from even averaging 20 points per game. But the 99-00 season was a resurgent one for Robinson that saw him as a borderline All-Star candidate. When the ball was tipped on the final day of All-Star voting, Uncle Cliffy made his case, scoring 23 points of the Suns’ 34 first-quarter points on the way to a career high 50. He never made the All-Star game, but he did make his way into the Phoenix history books.
#3 - Tony Delk did WHAT?!
Tony Delk was a journeyman guard who never averaged more than 12.3 points per game in a season and that season was the one in which he scored 53 points in a single game for the Phoenix Suns. It was double his previous career high, which he had set a mere ten days earlier. This is perhaps the most bizarre event in Phoenix Suns history, so bizarre that Rollin Mason devoted an entire TBT to it back in November: Tony Delk drops 53 on the Kings.
#2 & #1 - Tom Chambers scores 116 points in two games
Prior to Devin Booker making HI70RY, Tom Chambers owned the two highest scoring games in the Phoenix record books. Both games were in the same season and both were the only times Chambers crossed the 50 point threshold. For his first 50-spot, Chambers went off for 56 points against the Golden State Warriors on February 8, 1990. He had 40 points in the first half alone, powering Phoenix to a 74-53 halftime lead. While Chambers “only” had 16 second-half points, Kevin Johnson and Jeff Hornacek picked up the slack with 21 and and 24 points respectively and the Suns won easily, 131-118.
A month later, Chambers surpassed his career high with a 60 point outburst against the Seattle Supersonics. Again, Chambers got off to hot start, pouring in 35 first half points, including 21 of the team’s 28 second quarter points. The Supersonics, Chambers’ former team, had no answers for his offensive onslaught in the second half either as TC dumped another 25 points on them before taking a seat with just over three minutes left to play. Chambers accounted for nearly half of Phoenix’s offense in the 121-95 blowout. The thing that stands out below is how fluid TC’s game was. He scores from everywhere and looks good doing it.
While Chambers no longer can claim the two highest scoring games in franchise history, he can still claim the two highest scoring seasons for the Suns (see our previous TBT on Tom Chambers). Until Devin Booker comes for those too.