Rookie forward Patrick Williams has prided himself on guarding the opposing team’s best player on a nightly basis. He stood no chance against Devin Booker on Wednesday night.
In a 121-116 rout of the Chicago Bulls, the 24-year old guard burst into flames, finishing the night with 45 points on 17-of-24 shooting from the field in just 35 minutes.
He attempted only five three-pointers on the night, earning most of his points in the mid-range area of the floor.
Chicago’s rookie took the blame for Booker’s big night when speaking to reporters (via NBC Sports) after the game:
He kept making shots and getting to his spots. I take responsibility of that. That’s on me.
Williams finished the night with 16 points on seven-of-11 shooting from the field.
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Respect From the NBA’s Best
Devin Booker represents the latest name for Patrick Williams to add to his defensive portfolio.
For a rookie, he’s been subjected to some of the toughest defensive assignments in the entire league: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and of course, the Phoenix Suns guard being the latest.
Booker praised Williams’ after the game, as did most of the aforementioned greats:
I like that kid. I like his size. I like his mindset, mentality. We talked a little bit on the court. I gave him a couple things I’ve seen now that we’ve played them twice and not playing them again. I think he has a bright future.
Booker had a less efficient outing the last time these two teams met, but still finished with 22 points in the Suns win. He’s one of the best scorers in the entire NBA, the latest of learning experiences for Chicago’s rookie.
Williams acknowledged Booker’s league-wide status when talking about his shortcomings defensively after the game:
He’s a tough shot-taker and tough shotmaker, but I think I kind of let him get too comfortable in the first half. And when guys of that caliber get comfortable and start making shots from their spots, it’s tough to stop even when you are playing good defense.
Booker had 22 of his 45 in the first half, missing just four of his first 14 shots.
It seems worth repeating that the Bulls forward is just 19 years old.
To be able to experience these matchups at this age, perform well, and earn praise from his opponents afterward, is only a sign of bigger things to come.
The Bulls Are Sliding
Wednesday night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns is the Chicago Bulls’ fifth-straight, and their seventh out of their last eight games. A push for playoffs is getting farther and farther out of reach.
Of course, they had to play without All-Star guard Zach LaVine in their latest game, and may be without him for the next few games as well. Coby White has also missed the last two games with a neck issue.
It’s unclear if either of those guys will be good to go for Chicago’s next matchup against the Utah Jazz.
Friday night’s opponent is 36-11, has the best record in the NBA, and are the winners of seven straight.
For the Chicago Bulls to win on Friday, well, that’d be one hell of a way to snap the cold streak.
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