Devin Booker Drops 37 Points in Suns Loss to 76ers

by Cody Cunningham

Mikal Bridges returns home. Richaun Holmes faces his former team. T.J. Warren goes for his sixth straight 20-point game. Devin Booker looks to have his third straight 30-point game vs Philadelphia. And of course, Deandre Ayton vs Joel Embiid.

There sure wasn’t a shortage of headlines heading into Suns vs 76ers on Monday night and the game had no problem living up to the hype. 

Head Coach Igor Kokoškov switched up the Suns starting lineup as Trevor Ariza was announced back with the team. After 12 assists in each of his last two games, Booker found himself at the starting point guard position joined by Bridges, Warren, Ariza and Ayton to begin the game.

It didn’t take long for the new lineup to get in a rhythm as Booker found Ayton for the slam to put the Suns on the board first.

Bridges had his first ‘Welcome Home’ moment early in the first and he knocked down a three to extend the Suns lead to six. He followed that up with a steal and a slam in the same building he played played college basketball in just last season. 

Booker’s six assists and contributions from just about everyone in the starting lineup pushed the team up by 10 at the end of the first. They held onto their lead heading into halftime as Booker already had a game-high 17 points.

The 76ers fought back and took the lead during the third, but the Suns kept it close, down by just six heading into the fourth quarter. Philadelphia, who hadn’t lost a game on their home court all season, pushed their lead up to ten, but the Suns weren’t willing to just throw in the towel. 

Warren hit a three with three minutes left in the game to bring the Suns to within just five. This pushed Warren’s total to 21 points as he has now scored 20-plus in a career-long sixth straight games.

The 76ers led with 114-106 with under one minute left, but the hometown Philadelphia boy was going to give it all he had to try to bring the Suns back.

Bridges stole the ball from JJ Reddick, sprinted up the court and threw down a huge slam to bring the Suns to within five yet again. The foul-game started for the Suns as they hoped the 76ers could miss their shots as they responded on the other end.

Bridges did all he could as he followed up that make with two three-pointers in the final 15 seconds, but there just wasn’t enough time on the clock as the 76ers won 119-114.

Booker once again put on a performance against Philadelphia as he scored a game 37 points to go along with his eight assists and three rebounds. This was now his third straight 30-point game against the 76ers. 

“He’s playmaking for us,” Head Coach Igor Kokoškov said. “He’s just Book being Book… He’s the leader of this group.” 

Ayton held his own in the paint against Joel Embiid as he scored 17 points on 72.7 percent shooting while grabbing nine rebounds. 

“I think he did well,” Kokoškov said. “It’s a big challenge for him playing one of the most dominant players in the league…Overall I’m very pleased with his effort and presence. He’ll just get better from here.” 

Although foul trouble hindered Bridges minutes, the rookie still managed 13 points on five-of-seven shooting while knocking down three three-pointers and grabbing two steals. 

“I would have had more fun if we won, but it was good to be out here and see my friends and family out here,” Bridges said.

The Suns will continue their road trip as they travel to Chicago to face the Bulls on Wednesday. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona. 

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