Booker’s 70 can’t save Suns

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Phoenix guard Devin Booker’s scin­til­lat­ing 70point per­for­mance put his name among some of the NBA’s greats on Fri­day, but it couldn’t lift his Suns to a win over the Bos­ton Celtics.

Booker be­came just the sixth player in NBA his­tory to score 70 or more points in a game and at 20, the youngest ever to do so.

But the Celtics with­stood the ef­fort for a 130-120 vic­tory that kept them one game be­hind NBA cham­pi­ons Cleve­land Cava­liers in the race for the East­ern Con­fer­ence lead.

The Cava­liers de­feated the Hor­nets 112-105 in a bruis­ing en­counter in Char­lotte.

Su­per­star LeBron James just missed a triple-dou­ble, scor­ing 32 points with 11 as­sists and nine re­bounds but suf­fered a corneal abra­sion when he was poked in the eye in the third quar­ter.

The Cavs said he could miss yes­ter­day’s clash with the Wiz­ards in Wash­ing­ton.

The Wiz­ards tuned up for that mar­quee match-up with a 129108 vic­tory over the lowly Brook­lyn Nets.

That win, along with losses by the Detroit Pis­tons and Chicago Bulls, saw Wash­ing­ton clinch a play­off berth for the third time in four sea­sons.

The play­off races were heat­ing up with less than three weeks re­main­ing in the reg­u­lar sea­son, but the buzz on Fri­day sur­rounded Booker and a Suns team well out of post-sea­son con­tention.

“It’s a zone. It’s kind of hard to ex­plain,” Booker said af­ter join­ing Wilt Cham­ber­lain, Kobe Bryant, David Thomp­son, El­gin Bay­lor and David Robin­son as the only 70-point scor­ers in league his­tory.

Booker, whose pre­vi­ous ca­reer high was 39, went 21 of 40 from the floor, 4 of 11 from three-point range, canned 24 of his 26 freethrows and also had eight re­bounds and six as­sists.

Cleve­land’s vic­tory in Char­lotte fol­lowed a dis­ap­point­ing 126-113 de­feat at Den­ver on Wed­nes­day, which had James call­ing out his team­mates.

The Nuggets fol­lowed up their vic­tory over the Cava­liers with a 125-117 tri­umph over the In­di­ana Pac­ers in In­di­anapo­lis.

In Hous­ton, James Har­den scored 38 points and tied his ca­reer record with 17 as­sists as the Rock­ets ral­lied for a 117-107 win over the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans.

It was Har­den’s fourth con­sec­u­tive 30-point, 10-as­sist game, the longest such streak in the NBA since Michael Jor­dan’s fiveg­ame roll from April 4-12 in 1989.

The Golden State War­riors stretched their win­ning streak to six games with a 114-100 home vic­tory over the Sacra­mento Kings.

Stephen Curry had a dou­ble­dou­ble of 27 points and 12 as­sists for the War­riors, who im­proved to 58-14 and moved two and a half games ahead of the San An­to­nio Spurs for the best record in the league and home court ad­van­tage through­out the play­offs.

LA Lak­ers 130 Min­nesota 119 (OT), Golden State 114 Sacra­mento 100, Philadel­phia 117 Chicago 107, Mil­wau­kee 100 At­lanta 97, Hous­ton 117 New Or­leans 107, Bos­ton 130 Phoenix 120, Wash­ing­ton 129 Brook­lyn 108, Cleve­land 112 Char­lotte 105, Or­lando 115 Detroit 87, Den­ver 125 In­di­ana 117. AFP

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