Booker's 52 points help the Suns beat the Pelicans 124-111.

New Orleans — On Monday night, Devin Booker scored 52 points, his fifth-highest of his career, to help the Phoenix Suns beat the New Orleans Pelicans 124-111 and move within a game of the Western Conference's No. 6 playoff place.  

After losing 128-103 at Oklahoma City on Friday, the Suns (44-31) moved closer to New Orleans (45-30). The teams play again in Phoenix on Sunday. Booker became the first NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain to hit 50 points in three straight games against the same opponent.  

Booker scored 58 points in a 118-114 home win over the Pelicans on Dec. 12, 2022, after scoring 52 points in Phoenix's 123-109 win in the Smoothie King Center on Jan. 19.  

“It means a whole lot,” said Booker, from Moss Point, Mississippi, 110 miles from New Orleans, who had 40 family and friends in the grandstand. I attended two with my family. It's rare in my profession to be dubbed after Wilt, but you know you done something special.”  

Frank Vogel, Suns coach, was amazed by Booker's second 52-point game against the Pelicans this year. Vogel stated playing in this building against this opponent is special. He feels at ease here. Three consecutive 50s against one opponent demonstrate his exceptional skill. Three times in a row is incredible.”  

The Suns lead by 25 points in the third quarter after Kevin Durant scored 20 and Jusuf Nurkic added 19 and 19 rebounds. Durant said Booker got it going in the first quarter, so the Suns tried harder to get him the ball and screen to create more space. Durant remarked, “It was like deja vu.” As it happened, I couldn't believe he was doing it again.”  

Willie Green, Pelicans coach, said Booker's history of burying the Pels made it wrong to let him go. “He hit some shots we gave him, and he hit some tough shots,” Green added. “We must improve. No reason to get 50 and wear you twice a season. Actually, we were soft-guarding him. We were soft with him physically, and he's a tremendous player, so you can't let him be comfortable.”  

Booker scored 24 points in the first quarter on nine shots, 8-of-9 from behind the arc. “He came out with a lot of pace and energy,” said Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III. He hit some tough shots, but I think we helped.” Booker scored 25 first-quarter points in Phoenix's 123-109 road win over New Orleans on Jan. 19. He had 76 points in five quarters against the Pelicans before his 24-point first quarter surge Monday night.  

Zion Williamson didn't take his first shot until late in the first quarter because the Suns surrounded him. Williamson had 30 points, 5 assists. New Orleans' Trey Murphy III scored 21.  

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