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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Devin Booker

Devin Booker, Jae Crowder ejected from end of Game 3

Devin Booker Dennis Schroder

Devin Booker and Jae Crowder were ejected from the end of Game 3 of the first-round playoff series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Dennis Schroder was driving to the basket with under a minute remaining in the Lakers’ 109-95 win. Booker gave Schroder an intentional shove that sent the Lakers guard to the ground.

The officials reviewed the play on a monitor and gave Booker a flagrant 2 foul, which triggers an automatic ejection.

Suns coach Monty Williams objected to the call and let the officials know. Then before play resumed, Crowder was talking with Schroder. The Suns guard got ejected as well.

Phoenix took Game 1 of the series at home but has since fallen behind 2-1 in the series.

Devin Booker sets record in first career playoff game

Devin Booker

Devin Booker had to wait a long six years to appear in his first ever NBA playoff game, and the Phoenix Suns star wasted no time proving he is ready for the big stage.

Booker led the Suns to a 99-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the two teams on Sunday. He had 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. The 34 points were a record for a Suns player in his playoff debut.

Booker is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He averaged 25.6 points per game during the regular season, and he already holds the Suns record for most 30-point games by a single player. That’s pretty impressive considering he is just 24.

The Suns had a scare early in the game when Chris Paul went down with what looked like a very painful injury. Fortunately, he was able to return. If Paul stays on the floor and Booker continues to play like he did on Sunday, Phoenix has a legitimate chance to knock off the defending NBA champions.

LeBron James defends ‘disrespected’ Devin Booker over All-Star snub

Devin Booker

LeBron James defended Devin Booker in a tweet sent on Tuesday after the reserves for the All-Star Game were announced.

Booker was among the top snubs in the Western Conference. James called Booker the “most disrespected player” in the NBA.

The funny thing about saying players were snubbed from the All-Star team is that you should also have to say who should be removed from the team. So if James thinks Booker was “disrespected,” he should also tell us who should be replaced. But that’s the thing — he and others love to complain, but they don’t provide solutions.

Does James think Booker deserved it over Phoenix Suns teammate Chris Paul, who is also James’ buddy? How about over Anthony Davis, James’ Lakers teammate? Give us a name, James, or keep it to yourself.

Of course, Davis will likely miss the game due to injury, so Booker will probably be included anyway.

Twitter reacts to Devin Booker torching Ben Simmons after ‘best defender’ claim

Devin Booker

Ben Simmons’ claim about being the best defender in the NBA took less than 48 hours to age pretty poorly.

Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers faced Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. With Simmons as his primary defender, Booker exploded for 36 points on 14-for-23 shooting as Phoenix won the game 120-111.

Twitter then came at Simmons with the meme treatment, especially since Simmons had just been talking up his elite defense after the last game that the Sixers played.

Adding another juicy layer of complexity to the matchup was the fact that Booker is currently dating Kendall Jenner, who is Simmons’ ex-girlfriend. That much was certainly not lost on Twitter either.

Between Simmons’ “best defender” claim and the amount of time Booker has been spending with Jenner lately, he probably made it a point to come out on Saturday with a vengeance

No, Devin Booker was not disrespecting Giannis Antetokounmpo with postgame comment

Devin Booker

A quote from Devin Booker about Giannis Antetokounmpo went viral after his Phoenix Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, but the quote looks much worse than it is.

Antetokounmpo had 47 points in the game, but he missed a mid-range jumper at the buzzer as Milwaukee lost 125-124.

Some questioned the wisdom of Antetokounmpo taking that shot rather than a better outside shooter like his Bucks teammate, Khris Middleton.

The viral quote came after the game from Booker, who said he felt Phoenix was in good shape when Giannis pulled up from midrange.

The quote looked on the surface like Booker was disrespecting Giannis. However, the context softens things.

Booker was saying that it was Phoenix’s strategy to try and keep Giannis out of the paint and force him to an outside shot. They were successful in executing their strategy, which is why he was happy.

It’s not exactly breaking news that Antetokounmpo is a beast attacking the basket and that it’s good practice to try and keep him out of the paint. But that’s not easy to do, which is why defenses should feel happy when they are able to do it.

Report: Devin Booker does not actually want out of Phoenix

Devin Booker

Devin Booker’s alleged discontent in Phoenix may ultimately be overblown.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Friday that there is “no truth” to the Suns guard supposedly wanting out. Scotto notes that several executives believe that Booker will stay put due to his contract situation and his talent as a young franchise cornerstone.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix also strongly disagreed with the notion that Booker wants a trade, calling the rumor “garbage.”

Whispers emerged this week that Booker, 24, was unhappy in Phoenix and even that the situation might get ugly. But he has a whopping four years and $131 million left on his contract, making a trade all but impossible. The Suns are also trending upwards, having gone undefeated in the Orlando bubble and complementing Booker with quality young pieces like Deandre Ayton and Kelly Oubre.

Booker is an All-Star who averaged 26.6 points per game last season. Thus, the vultures will obviously be circling at the very first sign of trouble, even in the form of fellow NBA players. It does not appear though that there is any actual trouble here to worry about.

Devin Booker wants out of Phoenix and it could get ugly?

Devin Booker

Devin Booker has developed into one of the top scorers in the league, and the Phoenix Suns appeared to turn a corner in the NBA Bubble. They better have, because they could be in for some problems involving Booker otherwise, according to one analyst.

Ryen Russillo, an NBA analyst for The Ringer, joined “The Bill Simmons Podcast” for an episode that was published on Tuesday. In the episode, the two discussed the urgency to improve that some teams may feel.

The hosts were talking about the Suns when Russillo said there is some urgency due to Booker’s situation.

“They have to worry about the Booker thing. The worst-kept secret in the league is Booker already wants out of there,” Russillo said around the 1:04 mark. “And if it’s another bad season, I actually think that could get ugly.”

The Suns went 8-0 in the NBA Bubble, so they have a lot of momentum to build upon for next season. One of their first orders of business might be making sure Kelly Oubre remains with the team. They also might need to re-sign Aron Baynes.

Booker, 24, has averaged 26.6 points per game each of the last two seasons. He is under contract for another four seasons after signing a 5-year max contract. The last thing Phoenix wants is for him to force his way out. The best way to keep him is to field a competitive team. If they don’t, we know of at least one team that wants him.