Booker scores 50 in back-to-back games but Suns lose again
PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker has scored 109 points in the past two games and every last one of them went to waste.
Status quo for the last-place Phoenix Suns.
Booker became the youngest player in NBA history with consecutive 50-point games, but his latest scoring binge was squandered once again by the Suns in a 124-121 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
“The fans in Phoenix have been behind us the past four years since I’ve been here,” Booker said. “They deserve that. It’s entertainment for them. They come to the game and hopefully I try to put on a show for them and hope they enjoy, and make memories that last forever.”
Thomas Bryant’s three-point play with 2.8 seconds left put Washington ahead for good in a back-and-forth game. Bryant caught Bradley Beal’s pass off a baseline drive and banked in the winning bucket while getting fouled. After he added the free throw, Phoenix had one more chance to tie it, but Troy Daniels missed a 3-pointer from the corner just before the final buzzer.
“Luckily he saw me just going down the lane and everybody committed to him and he saw me right there close to the basket, where I’m able to make that shot,” Bryant said of Beal.
The 22-year-old Booker finished with 50 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns, with the worst record in the Western Conference at 17-59, dropped their fifth straight. Booker scored 59 points in a 125-92 loss Monday night at Utah.
It was the first time a Phoenix player reached 50 in back-to-back games. Tom Chambers had been the only member of the Suns to score even 40 in successive games.
“It’s a blessing. It’s an honor, I say it every day, to lace it up and play a sport that I love,” Booker said. “I think right now it’s time for me to be more aggressive, being down a couple of men. Teammates helping me, setting good screens. … Fell short, but a lot better fight today than we did have in the last game.”
Beal and Jabari Parker had 28 points apiece for the Wizards, who snapped a five-game skid. Bryant added 18 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.
The game featured 23 lead changes and neither team led by more than seven points.
Booker scored his 46th point when he missed his initial shot, fell to the floor, got back up to catch the rebound and rattled in a second shot with 5:08 to play. His 50th point came on a layup with 1:30 left, tying the score at 118.
He tied the highest-scoring game for a Suns player at Talking Stick Resort Arena, matching Amare Stoudemire (2005) and Clifford Robinson (2000).
Booker missed a 3 that could have put Phoenix ahead with 48 seconds left, and Bryant drained a 3 at the other end to give the Wizards a 121-118 lead with 28.6 seconds to go.
“I give it all to my teammates because they believe in me to make that shot, time and time again after I’ve missed so many shots this month and year,” Bryant said. “Knowing they have that confidence in me to shoot the ball, it feels great.”
Jamal Crawford tied it again on a 3 with 17.1 seconds to go before Beal’s drive and dish to Bryant for the winner.
Phoenix center Deandre Ayton broke Alvan Adams’ franchise record for most double-doubles in a rookie season (37) when he reached double digits in points and rebounds in the third quarter. Ayton finished with 14 points and 10 boards.
Booker’s layup and free throw with 0.7 seconds left in the first gave the Suns a 30-27 lead going into the second period. Booker scored 18 points in the opening 12 minutes.
His transition 3 with 44.1 seconds left in the first half gave the Suns a 59-56 lead and gave him 30 first-half points. Washington’s Jordan McRae dropped in a layup just before the halftime buzzer, tying it at 59.
GREEN MEANS GO
Wizards forward Jeff Green made the hustle play of the night in the second quarter, tip-toeing along the sideline to keep a loose ball from going out of bounds, then continuing to run the floor after passing the ball. He got a return pass from Parker and dunked hard over Bender, causing teammates to leap off the bench in celebration.
“I’m glad I was on the good end of it this time,” Green said.
Wizards: Washington (31-45) avoided being eliminated from playoff contention. … McRae, who spent seven games with the Suns in 2015-16, had a career-high 21 points. … Trevor Ariza sat out against his former team with a strained left groin.
Suns: F Josh Jackson missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle. … F Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t get to face his former team because of a thumb injury that required surgery and will sideline him for the rest of the season. … G Jimmer Fredette didn’t play in what could have been his home debut, five days and two road games after signing with Phoenix.
Wizards: At the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Suns: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.