Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker had that Mamba Mentality going on Thursday night at Staples Center, recording 47 points as his Suns stunned the Lakers and delivered LeBron James his first first-round series loss ever.
After the game, Booker said he was thinking about Kobe Bryant as his team advanced to the second round. Even though Booker beat Kobe’s team, he thinks the Lakers legend would have been proud of what they pulled off.
Booker talked about seeing those No. 8 and 24 jerseys up in the rafters at Staples and how they were “shining down” on him. The Suns star had conversations with Kobe before he passed about what it takes to win in the playoffs and how to “be legendary.”
Devin Booker was certainly legendary on Thursday night. In his first playoff series ever, he had the game of his life to eliminate a true legend in LeBron James. Booker helped the Suns jump out to a ridiculous 48-19 lead as they cruised to victory. The Lakers did make things somewhat interesting in the second half, but Booker and the Suns had answers for all their runs.
Booker shot 15-of-22 from the field and 8-of-10 from 3-point range in the win. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out three assists while playing solid defense in a terrific all-around performance. It capped off an incredible first playoff series in which he averaged 29.7 points on 48.8% shooting overall and 42.9% from 3-point range.
Kobe would be proud of Booker, but he would also tell him the job isn’t close to being done. Beating the defending champs in Round 1 is great, but the ultimate goal is winning a title. The Suns now have to face the likely MVP in Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.