Everybody has those “unforgettable” sports moments in their life, where they can always remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the event unfolded. For fans of the Big Blue Nation, it might be the Brandon Knight shot to beat Ohio State in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, or Kentucky football upsetting No. 1 LSU in triple overtime back in 2007, or one of the many basketball national championship wins.
For me – among many others moments – I remember exactly where I was when Devin Booker dropped 70 points for the Phoenix Suns on the Boston Celtics exactly three years ago on this date.
I didn’t have the opportunity to watch the game live, unfortunately, which is why I think it’s so unique that this moment still sticks out so vividly in my mind. It was March 24, 2017, and I was working at my restaurant job going about my regular duties when my phone began to blow up with messages and tweets and score updates: Devin Booker – just 20 years old and only in his second NBA season – had just recorded 70 points against the Boston Celtics.
The next 20 minutes of my life was spent ignoring my responsibilities and making it my personal mission to ensure that everybody in the entire building knew exactly what Booker had done. And I succeeded. I felt like the Paul Revere of 70-point NBA games.
Booker became the youngest player in NBA history to hit the 70-point threshold. It was just the 11th game of at least 70 points in league history and Booker was only the sixth player to do it. The Suns did lose, 130-120, but Booker’s performance overshadowed the prioritization of wins and losses (the Suns held a record of 22-51 following this loss, anyways). The former Wildcat shot 21-40 from the floor, 4-11 from beyond the arc, and an incredible 24-26 from the free-throw line. He also added eight points and six assists to his tally. Mind you, this Suns team was particularly horrific (and injured). Check out the rest of the Phoenix box score from that evening (shoutout to Tyler Ulis).
Obviously, Booker won’t have a chance to recreate that moment anytime soon. But we can still relive one of the NBA’s all-time best scoring exhibitions we have ever seen. It was also the most points in a single game since Kobe Bryant poured in 81 back in Jan. 2006.
For some reason, that group of Celtics players was unusually upset after the game, even though they WON. Notoriously rational human beings [sarcasm font], Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas, called out Booker and the Suns after the game. Crowder, who commented on a picture of Booker holding a piece of paper with the number “70” written on it as his teammates huddled around him, stated that he had “Never seen so many guys happy after an ‘L’.”, which is exactly the kind of thing you say when you aren’t a fan of having fun. Thomas called it “weird” and that he had never seen someone (i.e., Booker) chase numbers like that before.
It’s not always about winning, folks.
“At the end of the day, history was made,” Booker said after the game three years ago. “and I couldn’t do it without my team, so they’re gonna celebrate.”