Basketball: Suns' Booker shines in Mexico

Suns guard Devin Booker challenges Spurs centre Pau Gasol at the rim during an NBA game in Mexico City. Booker finished with a game-high 39 points.
Suns guard Devin Booker challenges Spurs centre Pau Gasol at the rim during an NBA game in Mexico City. Booker finished with a game-high 39 points.PHOTO: REUTERS

He has 2nd straight career-high effort at NBA Global Games to help Phoenix stun San Antonio

MEXICO CITY • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker may want to find a way to make sure the National Basketball Association (NBA) schedules his team to play more often south of the border.

Who could blame the 20-year old for his affinity for Mexico City after he scored 39 points for the second straight game here while leading the Suns to a 108-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

The sell-out crowd of 20,532 at the Mexico City Arena was the highest-attended NBA game ever in Mexico. It was the fifth regular-season NBA game played south of the border as part of the NBA Global Games.

"I think they enjoyed the show," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the crowd.

"They were loud. They were active. It was split pretty good between Suns fans and Spurs fans and that's always a great environment to play in. So, the fans deserve a lot of credit for coming out and enjoying NBA basketball. I hope they got what they thought they were going to get."

  • 39

  • Number of points Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker scored for the second match in a row.

Booker also scored 39 points - a career high - on Thursday in the Suns' 108-113 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the first of the two-game series in Mexico City.

"We took a loss earlier in the week, and from that we knew we had things to work on to be able to stay with the Spurs," Booker said.

"I just wanted to give the people of Mexico City a show - they deserve that for all the support they give our team - and I think we did."

Eric Bledsoe added 17 points and 10 assists for the Suns (13-27). T.J. Warren had 12 points, and Tyson Chandler grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds for Phoenix, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Spurs.

San Antonio got a career-high 38 points from Kawhi Leonard, who scored in double figures in his 72nd straight game. The San Antonio record is 75, set by former forward Tim Duncan.

Manu Ginobili added 16 points for the Spurs (31-9), while Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 and 13 points respectively. Centre Pau Gasol pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Spurs also scored 100 or more points for an 18th consecutive game - their longest streak since 1995 - but it was not enough to beat the Suns.

"Devin Booker does not want to leave Mexico, he's averaging 39 points, so he wants to stay and play Utah here on Monday," Suns coach Earl Watson joked after the game.

"I'm excited for Devin, he's only 20 years old and he won't be 21 until October, so we are very excited about his progression and everything that he's doing."

The Suns will return home to face the Jazz today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline 'Suns' Booker shines in Mexico'. Print Edition | Subscribe