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Devin Booker delivers All-Star performance to lead Suns to 32-point rout of Blazers

Devin Booker delivers All-Star performance to lead Suns to 32-point rout of Blazers

, Arizona Republic
Published 12:12 a.m. ET Feb. 23, 2021 | Updated 12:17 a.m. ET Feb. 23, 2021

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What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mark Medina identifies four up-and-coming NBA players who could be poised to make their first All-Star team.

USA TODAY

Devin Booker certainly showed he’s worthy of a second straight NBA All-Star selection in leading the Phoenix Suns to a 132-100 rout Tuesday over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Scoring 20 of his 34 points in the first half, Booker played one of his better games as the Suns (20-10) are now 9-1 in their last 10 and winners of their last three.

“No one can debate Book’s an All-Star,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “End of story.”

Phoenix led by as many as 37 points over Portland (18-12), loser of its last two after winning six in a row.

Aggressive early and often, Booker played with his back to the basket in the post area and got to the free throw line eight times, making all of them. He hit both of his 3 attempts as the second one came near the end of third quarter over two Blazers.

🔥 34 for D-Book 🔥@DevinBook scores a game-high in only 3 quarters of action, fueling the @Suns 3rd consecutive win! #WeAreTheValleypic.twitter.com/9nRMERr0vo

— NBA (@NBA) February 23, 2021

Booker ran back down court near the sideline holding up 3 signs as Deandre Ayton stood up and gave him five in celebration.

Phoenix led 100-71 after three quarters, and Booker sat the entire fourth. Two points shy of tying his season high, Booker shot 12-of-17 from the field and added four rebounds and four assists.

The NBA will reveal its Eastern and Western Conference reserves Tuesday for the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta. NBA head coaches vote for two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wildcards who can be any position.

Their votes were due earlier Monday.

“It’s beyond challenging.”

Stan Van Gundy on picking reserves for #NBAAllStar game.

He also issued a challenge to coaches:

“If you’re going to say your guy deserves to be on it, you have to tell me who shouldn’t be on there. Otherwise, it’s just an empty, gutless statement.” pic.twitter.com/Eg2V3HtYxm

— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 19, 2021

Booker made his first All-Star appearance last season as an injury replacement for Damian Lillard. League commissioner Adam Silver picks the injury replacements.

A season later, Lillard is healthy and looks to be a lock as a reserve as he’s a league MVP candidate along with LeBron James, Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry.

Averaging 30 points per game going into Monday (third in the NBA), Lillard went for 24, with 16 coming in the first half. He shot just 1-of-7 on 3s.

Booker isn’t seen as an MVP candidate, but with Phoenix fourth in the West and him having a huge say in that, the Suns star guard is definitely in the running to make a second straight All-Star appearance.

Chris Paul will look to make his 11th appearance as he’s been instrumental in Phoenix’s push to make the postseason for the first time since 2010. The 16-year veteran point guard had just two points on 1-of-9 shooting Monday, but had a game-high nine assists.

Phoenix stays home to face Charlotte on Wednesday before beginning a three-game road trip Friday at Chicago.

Follow Duane Rankin on Twitter @DuaneRankin.

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