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BBNBA: Booker’s 29 Points Have Suns Back on Track (For Now)

(Getty Images | NBA)

Good afternoon, folks. We took a one-day hiatus here on the daily BBNBA post, but we’re back today and better than ever. Let’s talk NBA.

REMINDER: Fan voting for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game is OPEN! Voting ends Jan. 20 and votes are currently worth two instead of one.

RECAP

Booker’s 29 tops Randle’s 26 in New York

The Phoenix Suns won its third game out of four tries on Thursday night when they made light work of the Knicks in New York by a final score of 121-98. Phoenix was led by a BBNBA high of 29 points from Devin Booker – a follow up to his 39 points outing two days prior in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The former Kentucky guard shot 9-17 from the floor, although just 2-8 from three, to go along with four boards and four dimes.

Julius Randle poured in 26 points for the Knicks on 11-23 shooting in addition to his six rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Kevin Knox appeared in 16 minutes for New York, posting seven points on 2-8 shooting while registering four rebounds and two steals, as well.

Booker’s efficient three-point shooting clip has taken a significant decline over the last couple of months. After starting the first 18 games of the season shooting nearly 42 percent from beyond the arc, he has since made just 30.2 percent of his outside looks on a similar amount of attempts. However, he’s still shooting over 50 percent from the field through that same span (which is rather impressive given the severe drop in his three-point shooting).

Phoenix has themselves in solid position to make a playoff run following the upcoming All-Star break. They’re currently two games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed out West, but only four games separate the 8th spot and 14th spot in the Western Conference standings. It’s going to be packed.

Unfortunately for the Suns, a few of the teams at the bottom of the Western Conference have made up ground as we enter the back half of the 2019-20 season. The New Orleans Pelicans are hitting a stride with Brandon Ingram playing at an All-Star level and the return of Zion Williamson on the horizon. They’ve won 10 out of their last 14 games and are now just 1.5 games behind Phoenix.

The Grizzlies have been the biggest surprise over the last few weeks, currently riding a six-game win streak behind a fantastic young core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Brandon Clarke. Also, as long as Gregg Popovich is the San Antonio Spurs head coach, you can’t count them out down the stretch. The first seven spots out West are practically decided barring any severe injuries to key players. It’s looking like seven teams will be vying for just one playoff spot (only to play the Clippers or Lakers. What a shame).

West Coast bigs in action

Willie Cauley-Stein (GSW) and Patrick Patterson (LAC) were both in action late on Thursday night. Cauley-Stein’s Golden State Warriors lost a tight overtime game, 134-131, to the Jamal Murray-less Denver Nuggets (who is expected to miss “multiple games” with a sprained ankle). WCS contributed 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block as his Warriors squad dropped its 10th consecutive game. Denver trailed by as many as 19 points in the second quarter before rallying in the second half.

Patterson and his Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand, took care of business against the Orlando Magic, winning 122-95. The former Kentucky big man also added 10 points, shooting 4-8 from the floor while hauling in four rebounds.

Bucks win round 2 of Milwaukee v. Boston

The Boston Celtics got the better of the Milwaukee Bucks in round one of the season series back in late October, but the tables were turned on Thursday. The Bucks evened up the series at one game apiece with a 128-123 win in Milwaukee. Eric Bledsoe shot 2-9 from the field for nine points, tacking on two rebounds and four assists in the process.

For the Celtics, Enes Kanter added nine points, one rebound, and two blocks in 15 minutes. He shot 4-6 from the floor.

Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Devin Booker (PHX)121-98 W @ NYK299-17 (2-8)44104+3127
Julius Randle (NYK)98-121 L vs. PHX2611-23 (2-5)63303-1935
Willie Cauley-Stein (GSW) 131-134 (OT) L vs. DEN104-5 (0-0)62111-1533
Patrick Patterson (LAC)122-95 W vs. ORL104-8 (2-4)41000+913
Enes Kanter (BOS)123-128 L @ MIL94-6 (0-0)10020-1015
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)128-123 W vs. BOS92-9 (1-3)24102+220
Kevin Knox (NYK)98-121 L vs. PHX72-8 (1-3)40201-616
Jarred Vanderbilt (DEN)134-131 (OT) W @ GSWDNP-Inactive----------------
Jamal Murray (DEN)134-131 (OT) W @ GSWDNP-Ankle----------------
Darius Miller (NOP)138-132 (OT) W vs. UTA DNP-Achilles----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

7:00: Timberwolves (Towns-questionable) @ Pacers

7:00 (ESPN): Bulls @ Pacers

7:00: Wizards (Wall-out) @ Raptors

8:00: Cavaliers (Knight) @ Grizzlies

8:00: Heat (Adebayo, Herro) @ Thunder (Diallo, Gilgeous-Alexander, Noel-questionable)

8:30: Hawks @ Spurs (JohnsonLyles)

9:30 (ESPN): Trail Blazers (Labissiere-out) @ Mavericks

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA. Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan