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#pounditFriday, January 28, 2022

Articles tagged: Devin Booker

Video: Pacers try to distract Devin Booker with their own dinosaur

Devin Booker warming up

Devin Booker has, intentionally or not, given opposing teams fodder for the foreseeable future with his mascot-related frustrations.

Booker and the Phoenix Suns were on the road against the Indiana Pacers on Friday. The Suns were playing their first game since Booker’s frustrated moment with the Toronto Raptors’ mascot in Tuesday’s game, which quickly went viral.

Unfortunately for Booker, the Pacers were watching, and brought in their own inflatable dinosaur to try to get in Booker’s head.

To his credit, Booker looks sort of amused with the whole thing. The Pacers weren’t done there, though, adding someone in a dinosaur head to try to throw Booker off during free throws.

Booker has a sense of humor about this, and it’s likely that playing in a crowded arena will pretty much nullify anything any dinosaurs can do to him. That wasn’t the case in Toronto. Credit to the Pacers, but the trick was probably a one-off in terms of getting Booker rattled.

Photo: Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker makes funny change to Twitter profile photo after Raptors mascot spat

Devin Booker warming up

Devin Booker has a sense of humor about his amusing spat with the Toronto Raptors’ mascot.

Booker was openly frustrated with the mascot during Tuesday’s game, as the raptor tried to distract the Phoenix Suns guard’s free throw attempts. The situation was made even more amusing by the fact that the Raptors are playing home games without fans, so the mascot was pretty much the only one there who could mess with Booker.

The situation was a little ridiculous and surreal, and Booker isn’t afraid to admit that. The Suns guard changed his profile picture on Twitter to the kneeling mascot as a nod to what happened.

If something that strange is going to happen, you might as well own it. Booker was the subject of some laughs and mockery for his reaction, but the mascot was definitely trying to distract him. He’s also pretty specific about being taken out of his comfort zone, but it’s worth a laugh now that it’s over.

Photo: Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Devin Booker got upset with Raptors’ mascot

Devin Booker attempts a free throw

The Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors played in an empty Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night, but someone still managed to distract Devin Booker on a late-game free throw attempt. The Suns star made it clear that he was not pleased.

The Suns were up 93-92 with 6.5 seconds remaining when Booker was sent to the line. After he converted the first of his two free throws, Booker complained to an official that the Raptors’ mascot, who is known as “The Raptor,” was waving his arms behind the basket.

As you can see below, The Raptor did try to mess with Booker:

The mascot moved to a different spot for the second free throw, which Booker also hit. Phoenix went on to win 99-95.

After the game, Booker joked that he hashed things out with The Raptor and the two are “homies now.” He also admitted that he even complains when his own teammates try to distract him during practice.

Booker probably wouldn’t have noticed someone jumping around in a full arena, but it was hard to miss The Raptor given the situation. Between that and what Benny the Bull did with Alex Caruso recently, mascots have been putting in serious work around the league.

Devin Booker takes funny shot at his former coach

Devin Booker warming up

Devin Booker achieved an impressive milestone this week, and he could not help but rub it in a bit in the face of his former head coach.

The Phoenix Suns star hit 10,000 career points with a 38-point outing on Wednesday in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He became the seventh-youngest player in NBA history to join the 10,000-point club.

Booker spoke on his achievement after the game.

“Honestly, this one means a lot,” said Booker, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. “I think 10K is better than the 5, 6, 7. I feel like it’s a real milestone that I hit.

“If Hornacek put me in more, I’d be at about 12 right now,” Booker added.

Booker is referencing ex-Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, who coached Booker in Phoenix during Booker’s rookie season in 2015-16. Booker was never fully unleashed in Hornacek’s offense and averaged a modest 13.8 points in 27.7 minutes per game.

Bourguet was quick to note though that Booker was kidding with his dig of Hornacek and was grinning ear to ear when he said it. Booker added that Hornacek would probably get a kick out of his shade.

In any event, it is a remarkable achievement that Booker has managed to score 10,000 points at only age 25. He also still appears to be on friendly terms with Hornacek, which probably cannot be said of all of Hornacek’s former players.

Photo: Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Booker has complaint about NBA’s new basketball

Devin Booker warming up

Devin Booker is having a hard time shooting the ball so far this season, and he thinks it has something to do with the literal ball that he is shooting.

The Phoenix Suns star spoke this week on the NBA’s new Wilson basketballs and said that every ball feels different, per Suns writer Kellan Olson. Booker adds that the basketballs that were used in the past would feel the same game to game but that is no longer the case this year.

The two-time All-Star Booker has been in a shooting slump to start the new season. His 40.5 field goal percentage and 27.8 three-point percentage are both the lowest marks of his career. Booker’s 21.8 points per game is also the worst since his 2015-16 rookie season.

Wilson just replaced Spalding as the producer of official NBA game balls. The league had been using Spalding balls since 1983. That has led to some growing pains for players, and Booker is not the only star who feels it.

Photo: Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Shocking stat shows how bad Chris Paul has been without Devin Booker

Chris Paul Suns

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 emphatically shuts down Kobe Bryant comparisons

Devin Booker

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.

Video: Devin Booker was not a fan of this stupid media question

Devin Booker Chris Paul

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.

Video: Devin Booker stared down Giannis Antetokounmpo after dunk that did not count

Devin Booker staredown Giannis

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.

Referees badly miss this foul call on Devin Booker late in Game 4

Devin Booker Jrue Holiday foul

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.