Dragan Bender Scores Career-High Against Lakers

by Cody Cunningham

Dragan Bender Scores Career-High 15 Points vs Lakers

Devin Booker and TJ Warren were coming off a combined 70-point performance against the Timberwolves. The duo picked up right where they left off as the Suns faced the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

The two came out firing, out-scoring the Lakers 9-0 in the first few minutes, and scoring the first 13 Suns points. However, the Lakers weren’t going away that easy.

The Suns took a slim 44-43 lead into halftime heavily relying on Booker as he scored half the team’s points with 22.

At just 21-years-old, Booker continues to lead the Suns on the court as not only their primary shooter, but their main distributor as well.

“We put Book in this positon where he’s trying to make plays offensively for other people and himself, and that’s a lot to carry,” Triano said.

The ever-improving Dragan Bender continued to impress off the bench. The seven-footer scored a career-high 15 points while shooting 75 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.

“I thought he did a good job in this game, especially after getting two quick fouls and us having to take him out in the first half,” Interim Head Coach Jay Triano said. “I thought he bounced back. He’s really very good defensively, he stretches the floor for us a little bit.”

Booker (36), Warren (23) and Bender (15) scored a combined 74 points, but it still wasn’t enough as the Suns fell to the Lakers 100-93. Bender showed his shooting potential in this game as the team still searches for their third-scoring option.

“He’s a player,” Booker said. “He can do a little bit of everything, especially for his size. He can pass the ball, he can rebound and he’s shooting it a lot better this year. His potential is off the wall.”

Bender wasn't the only one reaching a milestone on Monday. Booker hit a franchise milestone as he tied Steve Nash for 15th all-time in Suns history with 26 30-point games in his career. Once again, he's only 21.

As the Suns gear up to face the Houston Rockets on Thursday at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Booker is already looking towards the team’s next opportunity to take the court.

“We have to take that next step, and that’s winning,” Booker said. “Dropped this one tonight, but we have to get back at it. We have practice tomorrow, go over film, make the adjustments we need to make. And, Thursday’s next. We just need to go out there and be ready.”