Former University of Kentucky star Devin Booker said he wanted to make the most of his visit to Mexico City. He did.
The 20-year-old Booker scored a career-high tying 39 points for the second game in a row and the Phoenix Suns defeated the San Antonio Spurs 108-105 on Saturday in the fifth regular-season game in the country.
Booker, whose grandfather is from Mexico, was 12 of 22 from the field. He also had 39 points Thursday night in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Suns’ Mexican opener.
“I’m proud of the team overall, we bounce back after what happened the other night against Dallas, we play against a really good team like the Spurs and we came out with a close win,” Booker said. “We are seeing beauty in the struggle. We played real well.”
Booker has 13 30 point-games in his two-year NBA career.
“Devin Booker does not want to leave Mexico, he’s averaging 39 points, so he wants to play Utah on Monday,” Suns Coach Earl Watson said. “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.”
Kawhi Leonard had 38 points for the Spurs. They lost for the second time in their last three games.
“The Suns did a great job of being aggressive for 48 minutes they clearly played very competitively as it was evidence by their 26 or so second chance points they got and we exacerbated with 20 points off our turnovers,” Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich said.
Booker made two baskets to give the Suns the lead in the last minute, including a dunk off a break with Bledsoe that made it 106-103. Leonard made two free throws to get San Antonio within one. P.J. Tucker made two free throws for Phoenix, and the Spurs’ Danny Green missed an open 3-pointer to seal the win for Phoenix.
Phoenix is the first team to play two regular-season games in the same season south of the border.
Suns: Phoenix is averaging 106 points, The Suns last averaged at least that many points in the 2009-10 season (110.2).
Spurs: San Antonio has a 31-9 record, tying the second best start in franchise after 40 games. Their best record after that many games is 34-6.
THE MEXICANS RESPOND
The attendance was 20,532, a record for games played in Mexico, surpassing the previous mark that set Thursday with 19,874.
“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm of the Mexicans, and the expectation is to play many more games here,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the game.
THE SUNS FINALLY SHINE
The Suns’ previous visits to Mexico ended with losses against the Jazz and Cavaliers in 1996, against the 76ers in 2009 and the loss to the Mavericks on Thursday.
WATSON'S SPECIAL MOMENT
Watson has grandfathers who are native from Mexico. Watson brought his mother to Mexico City in this trip and has excited for the win against the Spurs.
“As you know my grandparents are from Guadalajara and my mom came with me here for the first time and she fell in love with the city,” Watson said. “This is a big win for the family.”