Suns Throwback: Tony Delk's 53-Point Game

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by Matt Petersen

When Tony Delk signed with the Phoenix Suns for the 2000-01 season, he had already played for Charlotte, Golden State and Sacramento. He was a 6-1 combo guard with a quick, low dribble and an equally quick release on his jump shot.

Phoenix needed his scoring potential in the guard rotation Penny Hardaway underwent microfracture surgery during the previous offseason. They figured he'd provide the buckets to complement Jason Kidd's assists in the backcourt.

They didn't figure on him giving the Suns the second-best regular season scoring game in franchise history.

Fittingly, said event occurred against Delk's most recent team, Sacramento, on Jan. 2, 2001. The Kings were beginning to emerge as a contender in the Western Conference behind a core of Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Williams. Sacramento entered the game at 20-8, while the Suns were showing similar promise at 18-10.

The game started innocently enough, with Delk hitting a baseline jumper. He followed with another long two. A bucket in traffic. A pull-up two. 

The heat-check came came in the third quarter with Phoenix trailing by double digits. Delk dribbled toward the baseline and pulled up with two defenders all over him. Their presence and after-shot shoves didn't matter. Delk's jumper hit nothing but net.

That was only his 28th point, which was already a career-high for the fifth-year guard. He'd hit 48 late in the fourth quarter, setting a new individual scoring record at Arco Arena.

For Delk, nearly everything was perfect except the result. Phoenix's comeback bid fell short in overtime, where they lost 121-117. As for their starting off-guard: 53 points on 20-of-27 shooting, with zero assistance from the three-point line (0-for-1) and a hard-earned 13-of-15 from the foul line.

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