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Devin Booker starts on fire … again against Pelicans

© Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker loves playing in New Orleans, and it has been on display from the get-go against the Pelicans tonight.

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In front of a lot of his family and friends who always travel from Moss Point, Mississippi, where Booker went to high school, to New Orleans, Booker had 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting and four assists to lead Phoenix (43-31) to a 46-28 first quarter lead over the Pelicans (45-29). This is the most points the Suns have scored in any quarter this season.

Booker is now up to 37 points on 14-of-19 on field goals and 6-of-10 3-point shooting, as the Suns lead the Pelicans 74-54 at halftime. This ties Booker’s season high for points in a half, which he reached in a Jan. 26 loss to the Indiana Pacers (finished with a season-high 62).

His 24-point first quarter means Booker now has the most quarters with 20-plus points since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Booker now has a franchise-best 12 career 30-point halves.

Booker entered tonight having scored 50 or more points in two straight games against New Orleans, including a 52-point performance in the teams’ only other meeting this season on Jan. 19. Phoenix won this game 123-109. He had 25 points in the first quarter of this game.

Booker was shooting 18-of-64 from 3 in 10 the last games since returning from an ankle injury. Now, before halftime, he has tied his career high of six 3-pointers for the 27th time of his career.

At one point, Booker was outscoring the Pelicans 24-22 by himself.

However, Booker was by far not the only contributor in Phoenix’s big first quarter. Kevin Durant had 11 points of his own, while Jusuf Nurkić had eight rebounds at the end of one.

The Suns were shooting 16-of-24 (67%) on field goals and 9-of-14 (64%) from deep at the end of the first. Phoenix also had 12 assists to 0 turnovers, an area where the Suns have struggled mightily, as they have a streak of 27 straight games with 10 or more turnovers.

At halftime, the Suns have made 13 3-pointers (of 25) and are shooting 59% from the floor compared to only 42% for New Orleans. Durant is up to 16 points and four rebounds, while the Suns have 18 assists to five turnovers. The team season high for 3-pointers is 22 and for assists is 38.

The Suns can own the tiebreaker with a win and move to one game back of New Orleans in the standings with one additional remaining matchup remaining between the two teams (April 7 in Phoenix).

Can Booker keep up his 50-point streak in the second half?

Preview: Suns look to win tiebreaker over Pelicans

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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