Can Devin Booker continue his historically efficient scoring streak?

Suns star Devin Booker followed his 47-point masterpiece in Game 3 with 36 in Game 4 as the Phoenix clawed back into the series.

On Sunday’s edition of „Inside the NBA,” Shaquille O’Neal looked directly into the camera and publicly apologized to Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker.

After Booker scored 47 points on 20-of-25 shooting from the field (including a 5-of-8 showing from 3-point range) in Phoenix’s Game 3 win on Friday, O’Neal said there was no way Booker could repeat that. . Two days later, Booker scored 36 points on 14-for-18 shooting (and 3-for-4 from 3-point range) to help Phoenix win the series in Game 5 tonight (tonight) at Denver.10 ET, TNT)

Adding those numbers together, Booker scored 83 points on 34-of-43 (79.1%) shooting. Field, 8-of-12 (66.7%) from 3-point range and 7-of-8 (87.5%) from the free throw line. DPhoenix shot a true shooting percentage of 89.2% in its two most pressing games of the season as it tried to avoid a historically insurmountable 3-0 deficit on Friday and a nearly insurmountable 3-1 deficit on Sunday.

Booker’s ridiculous hot shooting hasn’t been limited to the past two games. He’s been hot since the postseason began in mid-April. He enters Tuesday night leading all players in playoff scoring (36.8 points per game) and is doing so while shooting 61.7% from the field, 51% from 3-point range and 87% from the free throw line.

Booker’s regular season shot chart through nine games.

Booker’s postseason shot chart through nine games.

Before each game, Booker writes the words „Be Legendary” on his Nike Kobe game sneakers, the same words that the late Kobe Bryant wrote on a pair of game-worn sneakers that Booker gave to Booker following his final game in Phoenix.

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Booker’s play through the first nine games of the playoffs is fitting to have his name in illustrious company. Booker’s 331 total points in the first nine games of a single season is the seventh-most. Every other player on this list not named Booker is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer:

ranking

player

group

PTS

FG%

the season

End of season

1

Jerry West

lol

392

0.455

1965

Lost in the NBA Finals

2

Michael Jordan

CHI

362

0.544

1990

East lost in the finals

3

Michael Jordan

CHI

338

0.538

1988

Defeated in the Eastern semi-finals

4

Wilt Chamberlain

WHO

336

0.478

1962

East lost in the finals

5

Michael Jordan

CHI

335

0.537

1989

East lost in the finals

6

Elgin Baylor

lol

332

0.497

1961

West Finals loss

7

Devin Booker

PHX

331

0.617

2023

2-2 West Semis

8

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

lol

330

0.619

1977

West Finals loss

One area where Booker wants to distinguish himself from this group? None of these famous scoring outs resulted in the eventual postseason championship.

Booker is the ninth player in NBA history to score at least 35 points in a nine-game stretch in a postseason, joining Michael Jordan (three times), Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Elgin Baylor (twice), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice). twice), Jerry West, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant and Bernard King. In those 14 instances, only two players shot over 60% from the field: Booker (61.7%) and Abdul-Jabbar (61.9% in 1977).

Shooting over 60% from the field is a feat reserved for big men who patrol the paint and rarely shoot beyond 10 feet. What makes Booker’s run so unique and so impressive is the variety of shots he takes from all over the court.

Only 36.4% of Booker’s shots have come within 10 feet of the basket, where he has made 72.4% of layups, dunks and finger rolls this season. But most of his work has come on jump shots — pull-ups, spot-ups, fadeaways, step-backs and runners — and he’s shooting better than 55% of those shots.

Overall

FREQ%

FGM

FGA

FG%

EFG%

Overall

100

129

209

61.7

67.9

Less than 10 feet

36.4

55

76

72.4

72.4

Beyond 10 feet

63.6

74

133

55.6

65.4

There are 78 players who have attempted at least 50 total shots this postseason, and no one has shot a higher percentage from beyond 10 feet than Booker. The closest competitor is Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, who shot 45-of-78 overall and 26-of-49 (53.1%) from beyond 10 feet. Booker almost took it Three times Many shots are taken outside of 10 feet and an even higher percentage is shot.

Narrowing the focus and looking at the 21 players who hit 75 shots beyond 10 feet in the 2023 playoffs, Booker’s separation from the field widens: He’s 9.1 percentage points ahead of James, who is No. 2 on that list. Horton (46.5%).

The question entering Game 5 is whether Booker can continue this level of scoring volume and efficiency. With Chris Paul still sidelined, Booker and Durant led the Suns’ offense in Games 3 and 4, scoring 158 of Phoenix’s 250 total points (63.2%).

If the Suns are going to outlast the top-seeded Nuggets — two of the last three games of the series — they’ll need Booker’s incendiary scoring efforts. History tells us that producing a shot of this magnitude is not sustainable. But NBA legends are often called upon to do the impossible.

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