The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker lit the Chicago Bulls up like a Christmas tree in Las Vegas on Wednesday night in Arizona. Booker led the Suns to a 121-116 victory with 45 points on an evening where the Bulls played without Zach LaVine, Coby White, and Garrett Temple.
Booker was incredibly efficient, shooting 17-for-25 from the field, 2-for-5 from three, and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line. Bulls rookie Patrick Williams drew the primary defensive assignment. Despite his typical strong effort on defense, he was the unfortunate recipient of several eye shots as the Suns’ uber-smooth scoring guard was in a zone.
Williams Schooled By One of the League’s Best Scorers
Booker is one of the league’s most proven and skilled scorers, but he took time after the game to compliment Williams, and he even said he gave him some tips overall. In Booker’s post-game media session, per NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson, he said:
“I like that kid. I like his size. I like his mindset, his 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.”
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That’s high praise for Williams, who had a solid game in his own right with 16 points, an assist, a steal, and a ferocious block on a DeAndre Ayton alley-oop attempt.
PAT WILLIAMS SAYS NO 😱 pic.twitter.com/8P3CA56RLD
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 1, 2021
Williams didn’t make much of the positive praise if he was even aware of ahead of his post-game media session. With the Bulls losing their fifth straight and Booker having such a strong performance. Williams focused more on what he could have done better to slow down the high-scoring guard.
Williams Takes Accountability
The Bulls’ rookie was very complimentary of Booker, and he acknowledged there were things he could have done differently on Wednesday night.
“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,” Williams said. “I think in the second half I kind of upped the physicality. So did the rest of the team. But he was already hot. He kept making shots and getting to his spots. I take responsibility of that. That’s on me.”
Williams continues to draw the most challenging defensive assignments most nights, and that should continue through the team’s current treacherous stretch of road games.
The Bulls are on the road against the Utah Jazz on Friday, then at home against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. This stretch could see him spend time guarding Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles, James Harden, and Kevin Durant (if he’s healthy enough to play).
Steve Nash doubts we see Kevin Durant on Sunday or Monday against the Bulls or the Knicks but thinks he's progressing.
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) April 1, 2021
In any case, it won’t get much easier for Williams on the defensive end anytime soon, but somehow, it doesn’t seem as though he’d want it any different.
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