The Phoenix Suns’ surprising start to the NBA season continued on Monday night as they downed the Philadelphia 76ers.
Franchise cornerstone Devin Booker guided the Suns to a 114-109 victory at their Talking Stick Resort Arena with an incredible 40 points.
The 23-year-old’s performance saw him serenaded by an adoring home support who cried MVP at him.
Devin Booker (left) shone for the Phoenix Suns as they surprisingly beat the Philadelphia 76ers
Booker scored 40 points, while Ricky Rubio (right) added 21 in a 114-109 victory on Monday
‘That’s the love I get here. It’s been unconditional since day one,’ Booker said post-match. ‘It’s good to feel the energy in there. The fans are getting what they want – a hard-working team that pushes the issue every night.’
Booker now has 6,003 points in his career, becoming the eighth-youngest player in NBA history to reach 6,000. He turned 23 last week and finished Monday’s game 15 of 19 from the field, including three for four from three-point range, and seven of seven on free throws.
Ricky Rubio added 21 points and 10 assists for Phoenix, who are three games over .500 for the first time in more than four years.
The Suns now sit second in the Western Conference with a 5-2 record from their opening seven matches. They are on a three-game winning streak and off to their best seven-game start since 2013.
For the 76ers they’ve dropped down to second in the East, behind the Miami Heat, following their first loss in their opening six NBA matches. Philadelphia were without star center Joel Embiid because of his two-game suspension for an altercation with Minnesota Timberwolves Karl Anthony-Towns on October 30.
Al Horford led their charge with 32 points – tying a career-high five three-pointers, while he also shot 13 of 20 from the field. Tobias Harris added 24 points and Furkan Korkmaz had 20.
Al Horford (right) scored 32 points for the 76ers as they lost their first game of the NBA season
Up the West Coast in San Francisco, the injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors finally recorded their first victory at their new Chase Center.
Rookie forward Eric Paschall hit a key three-pointer with 4:05 remaining and finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds on his 23rd birthday, as the Portland Trail Blazers were defeated 127-118.
The Warriors (2-5) improved to 1-4 at home – they haven’t started 0-5 in their own building since losing their initial six home games in 1997-98.
Damian Lillard, no longer playing in his hometown of Oakland when he visits the Bay Area, notched his fourth 30-point performance in the first seven games with 39 points on 15-for-26 shooting, including five three-pointers. Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside added 22 points and 11 rebounds after missing one game with a bone bruise in his left knee.
Golden State swept Portland in the Western Conference finals last season on the way to a fifth straight NBA Finals.
Eric Paschall (right) scored 34 points as the Golden State Warriors won at the Chase Center
Jordan Poole celebrates a three-pointer during the Warriors’ 127-118 win over Portland
Sticking out west, James Harden scored 44 points as the Houston Rockets – without the rested Russell Westbrook – won 107-100 at the Memphis Grizzlies. Rookie guard Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 23 points and six assists.
The game got testy with about two minutes left when Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder appeared to take a shot to the groin while guarding Harden. After the foul was called on Crowder, Harden and the Grizzlies exchanged words, leading to Crowder’s ejection. Harden was called for a flagrant-one foul after a review by officials.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks won 134-106 at the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season’s NBA MVP has posted a double-double in all seven games this season.
Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 25 points. Minnesota played without center Towns, who served the second game of a two-game suspension for his clash with Embiid.
James Harden (centre) scored 44 points as the Houston Rockets won at the Memphis Grizzlies
Meanwhile on the East Coast, Kyrie Irving had 39 points and nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets withstood Brandon Ingram’s career-high 40 points to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 135-125 on Monday night.
The Nets had 67 points at half-time and a 20-point lead in the third quarter, but could never get comfortable until the final minute as Ingram kept coming at them.
And finally Bradley Beal’s 22 points and six assists helped the Washington Wizards beat the depleted Pistons in a half-empty arena while ending Detroit star Andre Drummond’s 20-20 streak.
Bidding to become the first player in at least 35 seasons to post four consecutive games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds, Drummond finished with 15 points and 24 boards. He shot six of 20, going one for eight in the fourth quarter as Washington pulled away.
Kyrie Irving had 39 points and nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets beat the New Orleans Pelicans