Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Devin Booker was thinking of Kobe Bryant after 47-point performance in series-clincher against Lakers

Devin Booker left no room for doubt against the defending champions.

He came out firing, sparking the Suns to a big early lead and ensured that they led for the rest of the way in a close-out Game 6 at the STAPLES Center. Dropping 22 in the first quarter itself, Booker's early onslaught gave Phoenix their largest lead of 29 in the first half.

In the second half, however, when the Lakers turned it up defensively and were making a run, he steadied the ship with timely shots as the Suns held on for the series-clinching 113-100 win.

Booker finished the game with 47 points, a playoff career-high and third-most in franchise playoff history.

MORE: By the numbers - Booker drops playoff career-high 47

"Honestly, I was thinking about Kobe and the conversations that we had," Booker said postgame sharing his thoughts when he put his hands together and looked upwards [at Bryant's retired jerseys at STAPLES] while walking off the floor into the tunnel.

"Kind of about what we just went through, the postseason and being legendary and taking the steps to get there."

'Be Legendary' was the message the late great Kobe Bryant shared with Booker as he handed the youngster his Nike Kobe 11 sneakers after the duo's last meeting during Bryant's final season in the league.

Bryant signed "To Book Be Legendary" on one sneaker and "To The Young Gun!" on the other."

"So seeing that 8 and that 24 up there, with the way that the lighting that STAPLES has right here, it feels like it's shining down on you," Booker continued.

The young Suns guard, who idolized Bryant and wears sneakers from his NIKE signature line, began inking 'Be Legendary' on his kicks each game since Bryant's tragic demise in Jan. 2020.

He even got those two words tattoed later in 2020.

"I know he was here tonight," Booker continued. "I know he was in the building and I know that he's proud."

Booker's virtuoso performance helped the Suns eliminate the Lakers and advance to the Conference Semifinals, their first appearance at the stage since their last postseason appearance in 2010.

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