Another scoring spree in the NBA: Luka Doncic scores 73, Devin Booker has 62

By Tim Reynolds

AP Basketball Writer

Luka Doncic and Devin Booker went on another NBA scoring spree on Friday night, making this a week like none other in league history.

Doncic broke his own Dallas franchise record by scoring 73 points — tying the fourth-most in NBA history — and Booker scored 62 for the Phoenix Suns in the second highest-scoring game of his career to add to a week of offensive explosions the likes of which the league has never seen.

Friday marked only the fifth time in NBA history — and amazingly, the second time this week — where two players scored at least 60 points, after Joel Embiid scored 70 for Philadelphia and Karl-Anthony Towns had 62 for Minnesota on Monday.

Before that, the most recent such occurrence of two 60-point games on the same day was on April 9, 1978, when David Thompson scored 73 and George Gervin scored 63. The NBA went nearly 46 years without another such day before Embiid and Towns pulled it off.

“I mean, you have some amazing players, man,” Doncic said Friday when asked about the recent run of great scoring performances. “There’s so much talent in the NBA. I don’t think there’s ever been this much talent. I don’t know because I didn’t watch NBA. But you have so much talent in the game it’s just insane.”

Doncic had a game topped by only Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant — Friday was the fourth anniversary of the Los Angeles Lakers great’s death — on the NBA’s career scoring list. Chamberlain scored 100 on March 2, 1962; Bryant scored 81 on Jan. 18, 2006; Chamberlain had 78 on Dec. 8, 1961.

And now, Doncic has joined their echelon, his 73 tying Thompson and Chamberlain (who did it twice) for fourth-most in an NBA game.

“It was beautiful,” Doncic said.

Doncic’s previous career best was 60 points. He made 25 of 33 shots in Dallas’ 148-143 win over Atlanta, plus went 15 of 16 from the foul line and 8 of 13 from 3-point range.

“Incredible performance,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Doncic had 10 rebounds and seven assists. He became the fifth player in NBA history with at least 70 points and 10 rebounds in a game, joining Chamberlain (who did it six times), Elgin Baylor, David Robinson and Embiid — who did it Monday.

Add the assists in there, and nobody in NBA history had as many points, rebounds and assists in the same game as Doncic did on Friday.

“What he does on the court is different than anybody else,” Kidd said.

Booker, whose career high is 70 — also in a loss, coming at Boston in 2017 — made 22 of his 37 shots from the field, 12 of 13 from the line and 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the Suns’ 133-131 loss at Indiana. Booker missed a 3-pointer at the final buzzer on Friday.

He scored 29 points in the first quarter, matching the highest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season — Embiid had a 29-point third quarter against Washington in November — and tied the highest-scoring first quarter in the league since Kevin Love had 34 against Portland on Nov. 23, 2016.

“Just making shots, taking the shots I’ve been taking all season, just being confident,” Booker said.

Booker has scored at least 59 points three times in his career and somehow, the Suns are 0-3 in those games.

“He’s a spectacular player,” Suns coach Frank Vogel said. “I think he should have been voted to be an All-Star starter, personally. I think the whole world can see that. He’ll be in that game when the coaches vote (for the reserves). What a special performance.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today