Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker put on quite a show in Game 4 of The Finals.
After scoring 20 points in the first half, Booker erupted for 18 more in the third quarter, giving him 38 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the field. With that outburst, he passed Rick Barry for the most points scored in a player’s first NBA postseason.
|Player (Team)||Playoffs year||Total points|
|Devin Booker (Suns)||2021||542|
|Rick Barry (Warriors)||1967||521|
|Trae Young (Hawks)||2021||461|
|LeBron James (Cavs)||2006||400|
|Carlos Boozer (Jazz)||2007||400|
|Paul Pierce (Celtics)||2002||394|
Booker’s 38 points were tied for the second-most points through three quarters by any player in an NBA Finals game over the last 25 years, trailing only Stephen Curry’s 40 in 2019. Allen Iverson also had 38 in 2001.
Booker, who sat for more than five minutes in the fourth quarter after picking up his fifth foul, finished with 42 points in a losing effort. The Milwaukee Bucks won 109-103 to even The Finals at two games apiece.
After Game 4, Booker wasn’t particularly interested in talking about his individual achievements after such a frustrating finish.
“It doesn’t matter at all,” Booker said. “I said that after last game too, when I struggled shooting it. The main objective is to win the game. So anything (else) that goes on throughout the game, it doesn’t matter, for real.”
Booker is averaging 27.5 points in the finals. Suns coach Monty Williams said after Game 4 that he could sense Booker would have a big game from the pop in the star guard’s step during Wednesday’s pregame shootaround.
“He was moving really well,” Williams said. “So when he’s moving like that and has his pop, you expect him to get by people and pull up on the dime for a shot. He was curling, getting to the basket, when he can stop on a dime and get guys up in the air, he has his legs underneath him. It’s just something I see in the shootaround when he’s working out. I can tell he’s got his legs.”
With Booker leading the way, the Suns carried an 82-76 edge into the fourth quarter. Cam Johnson extended that lead to 85-76 by sinking a 3-pointer with 11:42 left.
The Suns still led 85-79 when Booker picked up his fifth foul and went to the bench with 10:50 remaining. Phoenix survived his absence and still lead 93-90 when he came back with 5:55 left.
“I wanted to get him in maybe a minute earlier than I did,” Williams said. “You’re just holding on, trying to get as many stops and solid possessions as you can, but it’s not an ideal situation. But I thought we managed it well tonight.”
Booker’s return couldn’t help the Suns seal the victory. The Bucks instead came all the way back as Booker shot 2 of 6 and had just four points in the final period.
Game 5 is Saturday night in Phoenix (9 p.m. ET, ABC).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.