Sports

Moss Point's Devin Booker shines in NBA debut; Canaan nets 18 as 76ers starter

DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESSPhoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, front, works the ball inside for a shot as Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris defends.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESSPhoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, front, works the ball inside for a shot as Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris defends. AP

Former Moss Point standout Devin Booker scored 14 points in his NBA debut with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

The rookie from Kentucky made six of seven shots in the second half, but Dallas beat Phoenix 111-95. He was the 13th overall selection in the NBA Draft last June.

Booker, barely 19 years old, was the designated sharpshooter off the bench for Kentucky last season, and he made the most of his time on the court in his NBA opener.

His first basket as a pro was a 15-foot jumper with 2:50 left in the third quarter. He ended the quarter with his first NBA 3-pointer.

"It was surreal just to be out there in the first place," Booker told Suns.com after the game. "That's been your dream growing up. Everything you want to say is, 'I want to be in the NBA.' That's my first real NBA action. Unbelievable feeling."

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek appreciated Booker's aggressive offense, but the youngster has a lot to learn about NBA defense.

"I think he got back-doored on one and that's when a veteran says, `I got a rookie and I'm going to pick on him,'" Hornacek told The Associated Press. "That's how you learn. Overall, for the first game, I thought he played pretty well."

Booker is also a three-time Sun Herald basketball player of the year and McDonald's All-American.

Canaan scores 18

Former Biloxi standout Isaiah Canaan had a solid debut as the Philadelphia 76ers starting point guard. Canaan shot 6 of 14 from the field and 4 of 10 from 3 to score 18 points, second on the team behind star rookie Jahlil Okafor's 26-point effort. Canaan also had seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in nearly 37 minutes.

"I'm excited," Canaan told NBA.com prior to the 112-95 loss to Boston. "It's the beginning of the new year. We've been having a lot of different line-ups throughout the pre-season. Now, we can find a core chemistry, and get it all together."

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