By: Rob Botts
It’s been a long time since the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics have made history together. Remember way back when Suns and Celts were matching basket for basket in the triple over time thriller back in the 1976 NBA Finals and Gar Heard hit that turn around sky drop, rainbow shot? Well, we have a new chapter in the novel and it has been penned by budding young star named Devin Booker. The kid dropped 70 points on the Celtics at the Garden in Boston recently and by doing so has everyone’s attention…FINALLY.
Booker has been on my radar for quite some time now for a number of different reasons. Does he have super talent? Sure. Does he have a pretty sweet pull up jumper? You bet. Does he have a tenacious drive to the bucket? Yup. Does he have an uncanny ability to know how to draw contact and contort himself to go for the hoop and the harm? Absolutely. Does he have three point range? Yes. Does he have a nice little fade away that he can go to when his initial plan A has been cut off? Oh boy, does he. Can the kid knock down free throws consistently and under pressure? Of course. But do you know what young Mr. Booker has that is most impressive? COLD BLOOD. It runs through his veins on a nightly basis. Do you what else he has that is extremely impressive as well? His attitude. It’s one heck of an equation when you can have cold bloodedness combined with an old school and tough attitude. We have a young super star in the making here kids.
There have been glimpses of this over his young career that I have noticed. There was a game this season where he was playing a game against the Heat where he had the ball on the baseline and was getting bumped and checked before he got the ball. You could see a slight smirk on his face as he caught it. Then he proceeded to methodically back him down, spin and pump fake…then nailed a sweet shot from the baseline. Now the move was great, but what came after was greater. He just looked at the defender in a way that was so, MJ, so old school. A look that showed just a glimpse of the fire that burns in this kid.
Then there was a game winner. Booker nails a game winning shot at Dallas to beat the Mavericks and reacts in the way that just shows how supremely confident he is. After going right, coming back left and fading away at the top of the key and swishing the bucket, he just turned and walked the other way. Almost as if saying “No big deal. I’ll do it again….soon.” It’s that supreme confidence in his abilities regardless of the situation that is starting to get him noticed by many. The hoops gurus have had him on their radar for awhile now but after this 70 point explosion more people are going to start to take notice.
Now I know what some people are saying about this 70 point game. They are saying that Phoenix was feeding him the ball on almost every possession in the second half and were fouling the Celtics to get him more touches and in turn more shots, and in turn more points. Yes, that is all true but When Wilt scored 100 and Kobe scored 81 and David Robinson scored 71 they are got extra helpings of hoop hummus that day too. They all got the ball more than they normally do and they all deviated form what they normally would do in the half court set to get their guys the points. They also did what every body does from the your local YMCA pickup game to the hard court of the NBA….feed the guy who has the hot hand. Over and over and until he cools off. It’s kind of a rule in every sport if you think about it.
Devon Booker’s 70 point game is historic. Not too many of these gems and we need to appreciate them when we see them. What we are going to see going forward is heck of a lot more of Devon booker and his talents. You can book it.