The Phoenix Suns are facing a must-win situation in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. If they want to keep their season alive, they may need to make sure Chris Paul is never on the floor without Devin Booker.
On Tuesday morning’s edition of “Get Up,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe shared what he referred to as the “defining stat” of the NBA Finals. When Paul has been on the floor without Booker during the series, the Suns are minus-37. That means they are losing about a point a minute to the Bucks when CP3 plays and Booker is on the bench.
Booker scored 42 points in Game 4 and 40 in Game 5, but Phoenix lost both games. Paul had just 10 points in the Game 4 loss before bouncing back with 21 points and 11 assists in Game 5. Obviously, none of it was enough.
It’s clear that Paul needs to find a way to make or facilitate more plays when Booker rests. Either that, or Monty Williams needs to consider just making sure Paul and Booker are on the floor together as much as possible. That stat hardly seems like a fluke.
Paul is already one loss away from setting the wrong kind of NBA record. With Game 6 in Milwaukee, he is now facing the toughest task of his career.
Devin Booker is one of several young NBA stars who worked with Kobe Bryant before the Hall of Famer tragically died last year, but the Phoenix Suns star does not think comparisons between him and Kobe are appropriate.
Booker has been outstanding in his first ever postseason. He’s drawn some comparisons to Bryant along the way, and he was asked about those during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” Monday. Booker said he tries to take “bits and pieces of (Kobe’s) mentality and approach,” but he doesn’t want to be compared to him.
Booker has averaged 30.0 points per game in the NBA Finals. He scored 40 points in Game 4 and 42 in Game 5, but Phoenix lost both. He also dropped 46 points in the Suns’ series-clinching win against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the postseason, and he said he felt Bryant’s presence then.
If you remember, Kobe gave Booker an awesome gift when Booker was a rookie. You can understand why Booker feels a close connection to Bryant and would be uncomfortable with the comparisons now.
Devin Booker was not a fan of a stupid question he received after his Phoenix Suns lost 123-119 to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday night.
Booker’s Suns blew an early lead, fell behind in the second half, and then worked to make it a 1-possession game in the final minute. A great play by two of the Bucks’ stars helped turn the game and seal the win (video here).
Losing Game 5 at home, especially after they jumped out in front and then nearly made the full comeback, had to have been heartbreaking for the Suns. It likely wore on Booker extra hard after he had the ball stolen from him at the end.
So you can understand why Booker didn’t think this question from the Arizona Republic’s Greg Moore was worth answering.
Yes, a reporter asked Booker how he frustrated he felt for Chris Paul. Not how frustrated Booker felt, but how frustrated he felt for CP3. That’s such a bad question.
Yes, we know there is a narrative about Paul finally having an opportunity to win his first championship. But guess what? The same is true for Booker. Booker is every bit as invested as Paul, if not more, given the struggles he endured when Phoenix was the worst team in the league. Any emotions Paul is feeling, Booker no doubt feels as well. Booker also lost the game for the Suns with his turnover.
How could a reporter miss and ignore all that, and then spit in Booker’s face by asking him how he feels for Paul? That’s just bonkers.
Devin Booker gave Giannis Antetokounmpo a big staredown after dunking on him during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday. Unfortunately for Booker, his dunk didn’t actually count.
The Phoenix Suns were leading the Milwaukee Bucks midway through the first quarter of Game 5. Khris Middleton had the ball stolen from him by Mikal Bridges, who passed ahead to Booker. A whistle was blown to indicate a foul call, but Booker went up for a dunk attempt anyway. Antetokounmpo’s foul still did not prevent the dunk.
Booker did not appreciate the foul and stared down Antetokounmpo afterwards as a flex move.
The officials reviewed the play and determined PJ Tucker fouled Bridges before the pass. Nothing was assessed to Antetokounmpo.
What was wild was how loud the atmosphere was. Neither Booker nor Antetokounmpo seemed to hear the whistle and both went hard on the play.
The referees in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday badly missed what should have been a foul called on Devin Booker late in the game.
Booker’s Phoenix Suns were leading 95-92 with 3:41 left when Milwaukee had the ball on a fastbreak. The pass went ahead to Jrue Holiday, who went up for a layup. Booker came in and made clear contact with Holiday while attempting to block the shot.
Rather than a foul being called, Booker was given credit for a block.
Giannis Antetokounmpo got the ball and made a layup as a followup, so the game’s score ended up what it should have been — 95-94. However, Booker had five fouls at the time of the play.
Had a foul been called as it should have been, Booker would have fouled out of the game. The refs shouldn’t miss calls like that. It will likely come up on the 2-minute report.
Devin Booker is known for pulling up to Phoenix Suns games in a stylish manner. But that was not necessarily the case on Wednesday night.
Booker showed up for Game 4 of the NBA Finals between his Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum with a slightly oversized and wrinkled suit on. His color scheme was identical to Mac Jones at the NFL Draft.
Jones was a first-round pick by the New England Patriots in April, going No. 15 overall. Booker was a No. 13 pick in 2015 and has made two straight All-Star Games. But he did not look as sharp before the game on Wednesday as he usually does. Maybe that’s because he did not have his great car collection to enhance his look. Or maybe his focus was just on helping his Suns take a 3-1 series lead.
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 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 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.
ESPN announcer Mark Jackson looked foolish for a moment while calling Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday night.
Devin Booker was called for a charge with 1:05 left in the game, which was his sixth foul. Booker headed to the bench because he fouled out and was replaced by Torrey Craig.
Jackson saw Booker leave the game but didn’t realize it was because he had fouled out. Rather, he thought Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was making a tactical adjustment.
Even with Booker out, the Suns still pulled out an 84-80 win. They now lead the series 3-1. Game 5 will be on Monday in Phoenix, and maybe Jackson will keep better count of fouls in that one.