Devin Booker entered Thursday night’s game just eight points shy of 5,000 for his career as the Phoenix Suns tipped off against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Entering just his 245th game, Booker had already scored 4,992 points in less than four years and it wouldn’t take long for him to hit his latest milestone. Booker only needed eight in the game, but he got that, plus a lot more in just the first quarter.
A midrange fadeaway off the glass six minutes into the game notched him points 5,000 and 5,001 for his career. Booker became the fifth youngest player in NBA history to reach the 5k milestone, trailing only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
“He’s our best player,” Head Coach Igor Kokoskov said. “He’s one of the most gifted, talented players in this league. In our playbook, in our arsenal we don’t need a lot of stuff for Book. Book is triggering playmaking for us. It comes both ways. He cares about our team, he’s trying to help us win in games.”
Booker wasn’t just settling for those eight points though as the 22-year-old erupted for 18 points in the opening quarter to give the Suns a 31-30 lead.
Although the Blazers regained the lead during the second quarter, the Suns kept it within four points entering halftime.
The Suns were already without Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain), Richaun Holmes (right foot sprain) and T.J. Warren (sore right ankle), but the injuries continued to pile on. Starting point guard De’Anthony Melton sprained his right ankle during the third quarter and was not able to return for the remainder of the game.
“We’re hoping to have a couple of guys back by tomorrow but it happens,” Josh Jackson said. “Just the NBA, eighty-two games in a season, it’s bound to happen, so everybody’s just got to step up and be ready.”
Elie Okobo stepped up in place of Melton, scoring nine points in the third quarter, but a Blazers run to end the third extended the deficit to 12 points.
It became too much for the Suns to overcome as they ultimately fell to the Blazers 120-106.
Booker scored a game-high 27 points while hitting the historic milestone, but individual accolades aren’t what he’s focusing on.
“I’m just at a point in my career where I just want to be a winner,” Booker said. “I’ve done the individual accolades countless of numbers of times. So for me, it’s figuring out how to win and we’re not doing that right now. So, until we start winning, that’s when all those things will matter to me.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. did a little bit of everything scoring 18 points with seven assists, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
The Suns have a quick turnaround as they travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Friday. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.