On March 24th of 1990, Tom Chambers scored a Suns’ franchise-record of 60 points against the Seattle Supersonics. It was a record I never thought would be broken.
On March 23rd of 2016, Kobe Bryant wrote “be legendary” on a pair of his shoes and gave them to Devin Booker, a shooting guard who has a ridiculous amount of things in common with one of the few players in NBA history to score over 60 since Chambers.
On March 24th of 2017 — 27 years after Chambers’ record and almost exactly one year after Kobe told Booker to be legendary — the 20-year-old Booker broke Chambers’ record by dropping 70 on the Boston Celtics. The 70, which included a 51-point second half was also the most any opponent has ever scored against the Celtics.
For the most part, everybody was supportive of Booker’s accomplishment but some were critical of the Suns celebrating since they lost and were intentionally fouling at the end (the Spurs did the same for David Robinsons’ 71). The Celtics’ Jae Crowder even posted, “I’ve never seen so many guys happy after a ‘L’” on Instagram. Booker replied, “You can’t guard me.”
And here’s what Booker had to say to reporters about his performance and team celebration.
“It is (weird), because we’ve all been winners most of our life,” said Booker. “But at the same time, the way our season’s gone right now, we’re kind of looking for something to celebrate. And that meant a lot to see my veterans happy. Tyson Chandler cheering me on. Jared Dudley had 10 assists tonight looking for me every time downcourt. It is sometimes, but you have to see the beauty in it. At the end of the day, history was made and I couldn’t do it without my team so they’re gonna celebrate.”
“I heard Brad Stevens yell one time: ‘He has 47 points!'” Booker said. “And I was like, ‘Coach, we’re losing, I’d rather be winning right now with 10 points.’
“We just kept trying to win. Once I got hot, teammates started finding me, I think we cut it to 10. We just could never get over the hump.”
“(The fans cheering) meant a lot,” Booker added, “especially here in Boston because I know how rowdy they can be on the opponent sometimes. I respect that because that’s how it should be. That meant a lot, like I said, a storied franchise like the Boston Celtics, to be able to do it here in TD Garden, something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”