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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Devin Booker

Jeff Van Gundy: Devin Booker plays like a ‘hoodlum’

Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy complimented Devin Booker on his toughness Thursday with an interesting word choice.

Van Gundy was serving in his customary role as an analyst along with Mark Jackson and Mike Breen on the ABC telecast for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Late in the third quarter, Booker scored a basket, and his hustle and effort left the announcing team impressed.

“He’s a great scorer, but you guys love his toughness and his competitiveness,” Breen, the play-by-play announcer said.

“He’s got an edge to him,” Van Gundy said as a compliment to Booker. “He looks like a choir boy, but plays like a hoodlum!”

Van Gundy was making note of Booker’s innocent looks while contrasting it with his tough game and style.

Both Jackson and Breen laughed at the compliment.

Saying Booker plays like a hoodlum is not unlike the phrasing in today’s game of saying someone plays like a “dog.” In a basketball sense, both are ways of describing someone who plays with doggedness, determination, and toughness.

H/T Big Daddy

Devin Booker not apologizing for Suns’ NBA Finals run

Devin Booker

Devin Booker is not apologizing for his Phoenix Suns’ NBA Finals run, not that he should be.

The Suns have been viewed by some as a team that’s taken advantage of injuries to reach the Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers lost Anthony Davis due to a groin injury in their first-round series. Phoenix won that series in six. The Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in the second round. Denver was playing the last few months without Jamal Murray, who suffered a torn ACL in April. Then they beat the Clippers in the conference finals in six games. The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard the entire series because he had a knee injury.

Booker met with the media on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the Finals against the Bucks. He was asked about the injuries to opponents and dismissed the matter.

“We’re not here to justify what we’re doing to anybody else,” Booker said.

Booker has no reason to apologize. His team was without Chris Paul a few games due to COVID. More importantly, it’s not like any of those other teams laid down and quit just because they had some injuries. The Suns still had to win games. And they did.

Now they will face perhaps their toughest test when they take on the Bucks.

Devin Booker explains why he removed mask during Game 4

Devin Booker

Devin Booker ditched his mask for nearly half of Game 4 on Saturday and later explained why.

Booker was upset after missing a layup in the third quarter and took off the mask, which he had been using to protect his nose that was broken in Game 2. He went just 8-for-22 in the game and scored 25 points in Phoenix’s 84-80 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference finals.

So what was Booker’s rationale for removing the protection?

“I can get surgery any time if it gets hit again,” Booker said in an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. “But in the Western Conference finals and making it to the (NBA) Finals, those opportunities don’t come and go, so I don’t take ’em lightly. I’ve never played with a mask. I’m not blaming it on the mask, but 24 years of my life, I’ve never felt that.”

Even if he was uncomfortable wearing the mask in Game 4, Booker told Van Pelt he would probably put it back on to start Game 5.

The Suns now lead the series 3-1, but they know it’s not over yet.

Here is how Devin Booker’s broken nose was handled

Devin Booker mask

Devin Booker said on Tuesday that he did not have a broken nose, but that is incorrect.

Booker collided with Patrick Beverley at the end of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between his Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers. Booker said after the game that he got stitches but doctors said his nose was not broken.

Booker since changed his tune.

Booker actually had his nose broken in three places. There was no time for him to get anesthesia before having his nose reset, so he got eight shots of a numbing agent instead.

That probably was a slight bit painful. Booker’s toughness probably should not be called into question after this.

The Suns guard tried to play with a mask on in Game 3 but was not his usual self and struggled with his shot. Game 4 of the series will be on Saturday.

Ex-NBA player thinks Devin Booker should take off his mask

Devin Booker mask

Devin Booker struggled in his first game wearing a mask, and one former player thinks the star should ditch the face cover.

Jamal Crawford, who played 20 years in the NBA, shared on Twitter Thursday that he could relate to Booker. Crawford said he wore a mask once and it inhibited him so much that he got rid of it quickly.

He also made a prediction regarding Booker.

Booker suffered a nose injury on a collision with Patrick Beverley during Game 2 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. He played Thursday’s Game 3 with a mask on but began the game 0-for-6. The poor start is what led to Crawford’s comments.

Devin Booker to wear mask for Game 3 after injuring nose

Devin Booker

Devin Booker will have a different look for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

The Phoenix Suns guard will be wearing a mask in the game. Booker suffered a nose injury after colliding with Patrick Beverley in Game 2, which the Suns won by a point over the Los Angeles Clippers.

There was speculation that Booker had a broken nose, but he doesn’t.

It makes sense for Booker to protect his nose so it doesn’t get worse.

Booker has improved his game in the postseason and is averaging 28.3 points per game during the playoffs. He had a 40-point triple-double in Game 1. He’ll have to adjust to playing with a mask to replicate such a performance in Game 3. His Suns have a 2-0 series lead and will have Chris Paul back for the game.

Video: DeMarcus Cousins shoved Devin Booker at end of Game 2

Devin Booker DeMarcus Cousins

The Phoenix Suns pulled off an incredible win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, and things got chippy between Devin Booker and DeMarcus Cousins at the end.

The Suns were down 103-102 and had the ball under the basket with 0.9 seconds left. They used a perfect inbounds play to throw a pass from Jae Crowder to Deandre Ayton for an alley-oop (video here). As the officials were trying to sort out whether more time should be put back on the clock, Cousins was seen giving Booker a firm shove.

Booker may have deserved it. One camera angle of Ayton’s game-winning alley-oop showed that Booker immediately ran over to the Clippers’ bench to celebrate. He then enthusiastically joined his teammates and crossed paths with Cousins on the way. You can see all of that in the video below:

Phoenix now holds a 2-0 series lead, so you can understand why Cousins was frustrated. What has to really sting for the Clippers was Paul George missing two free throws with 8.2 seconds left. If he made either one, the series might be tied heading into Game 3.

Devin Booker joins elite company with 40-point playoff triple double

Devin Booker

Devin Booker picked up the slack and then some in the absence of Chris Paul in Game 1 on Sunday, dominating the Los Angeles Clippers on the way to a victory to open the Western Conference Finals.

Booker posted his first career triple-double, scoring 40 points to go with 13 rebounds and 11 assists. He became only the third player 24 years old or younger to record a 40-point triple double, joining Luka Doncic and Oscar Robertson.

Booker also became the sixth player in NBA history to record multiple 40-point games in his first career postseason. The company there is pretty elite, too.

Booker was simply dominant against the Clippers. Maybe it was down to the presence of “Suns in 4” guy. Whatever it was, the team will be incredibly thankful it.

Devin Booker trying to get in touch with ‘Suns in 4’ fan

Devin Booker

Devin Booker seems to be a fan of one of the team’s most confident fans.

Booker sent a message on Twitter Monday seeking the contact information for the Suns fan who went viral over the weekend.

The fan in question got into a fight with two Denver Nuggets fans during Game 3 of Phoenix’s Western Conference semifinals series win over the Nuggets. One of the two Nuggets fans sucker-punched the Suns fan, who proceeded to beat the tar out of the two men (video available here). The fan punctuated the beat down by saying confidently “Suns in 4” to the two men.

Now that the video has gone viral and the man’s prediction of a sweep came true, he’s become internet famous. Maybe Booker will invite the fan to attend the Western Conference finals.

Twitter joked about Nikola Jokic’s brothers beating up Devin Booker

Sopranos

Nikola Jokic was ejected in the third quarter of Game 4 between his Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Right after committing the foul that led to his ejection, Jokic was swarmed by Suns guard Devin Booker.

The way that Booker ran up to Jokic and got in his face led to all sorts of jokes about retribution heading the guard’s way. Several of the jokes specifically referenced Jokic’s two large, older brothers, who go everywhere with the reigning MVP. They looked like they wanted a piece of Booker as the drama was unfolding:

Maybe there is an intimidation factor when it comes to Jokic and his crew. Or maybe Booker doesn’t even care. His Suns won the game 125-118 and got the series sweep. Denver has a lot of work to do.