Booker, Warren Combine for 70 in Suns Win Over Wolves

by Cody Cunningham

Booker Scores 35 Against Timberwolves

On a night where he was going head-to-head against three-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker took the court and had possibly his most complete game of his career.

“I have to bring it,” Booker said. “After the couple losses that we’ve had, we’ve been looking for answers and our answer tonight was effort.”

From scoring to defending to fighting for boards to finding teammates, Booker did it all against the Timberwolves on Saturday night, but let’s break it down.

We all know Booker can score, but facing a premier defender in Butler and a defensive-minded Head Coach in Tom Thibodeau, it would not be an easy matchup. The 21-year-old still managed to score 35 points while shooting 59 percent from the field and 55 percent from three-point range.

Booker’s joins Charlie Scott as the only players in Suns history with at least five 30-point performances through the season’s first 14 games.

“He’s such a gifted player, we’re just trying to create different ways for him to have the ball,” Interim Head Coach Jay Triano said. “We know he’s good enough to make plays for other people, he’s good enough to score.”

Defensively, Booker has made major improvements to his game this season and his defensive contributions proved to be a difference maker on Saturday. Booker and the Suns held Butler to just 29 percent from the field and the Timberwolves as a whole to just 20 percent from three.

“I think the biggest thing that we’ve been preaching is how well he defends,” Triano said. “Again, tough matchup for him tonight, and I thought he did a real good job. He’s been buying in at the defensive end.”

Booker not only hustled on defense, but on the boards as well. He grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, which is the third-most of his career.

There’s also something about clutch time, that puts Booker on a different level. With 12 lead changes and eight ties, the dramatics of the game never seemed to die.

The Suns were down four with under four minutes remaining and Booker did what Booker does best. He knocked down a 26-foot three to bring the Suns within just one. He followed that up with an assist to TJ Warren to put the Suns up 104-103.

Oh, but he wasn’t done yet. Booker hit two consecutive mid-range jumpers to extend the Suns lead to five with a minute to go.

The Suns were on an 11-0 run and with just a minute to go, needed just one more bucket to seal the win. Booker drove to the hoop, but instead of forcing the shot, pushed the ball out to Marquese Chriss in the corner who knocked the three for Booker’s sixth assist of the game.

“I just liked the way, I thought Book carried himself with his 35,” Triano said. “But he also made sure when he had the basketball he was looking for TJ to make plays as well.”

Booker and Warren combined for 70 points, as the Suns walked away with a 118-110 victory over the Timberwolves.

They are the first Suns teammates to each score 35 in a game since Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire in 2008.

“When they’re both rolling, it’s going to be a good night for us,” Triano said. “And I thought they both just found ways.”

The Suns stay at home as the Los Angeles Lakers come to town on Monday. Catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.