Suns Notes: Booker, Johnson, Williams, Bridges

The Suns fell to 1-4 on the season without Devin Booker after a lopsided loss to the Grizzlies Friday night, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. After scoring a season-high 58 points last Saturday, Booker has sat out three straight games with groin soreness.

“I am not going to downplay the fact that we miss Book,” Landry Shamet said. “Of course we do. He is an All-NBA guy. He should be in the MVP conversation. We miss him, but none of the basketball X’s and O’s stuff matters if we don’t pick up on that mentality, physicality. Hit first.”

Coach Monty Williams updated reporters on Booker’s condition before the game, saying he has started shooting again but still isn’t able to move around very much. He refused to speculate on whether Booker might be available for the Christmas Day game at Denver.

“He’s chomping at the bit as you can imagine,” Williams said. “Book’s frustrated when he’s not on the floor. Hoping he can get out there soon.”

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • Injured forward Cameron Johnson will accompany the team on its upcoming six-game road trip, Rankin notes in the same story. Johnson isn’t expected to play during the trip, which runs through January 4, but it’s still a positive sign as he works toward returning from November 8 meniscus surgery. Johnson was projected to miss one to two months, and he’s nearing the end of that timeline.
  • The Suns’ poor showing lately has included a couple of losses to teams that were able to push them around, Rankin adds. The latest occurred Friday as Memphis came into Phoenix and built a double-digit lead in less than four minutes on its way to winning the first quarter by 19 points. “Our edge in these games, whether it’s Boston, Memphis, these teams who are big and physical and want to put their hands on us, we don’t have the pre-game edge that we’ve had around here,” Williams said. “We’ve got to get back to chasing something and right now. I feel like the prey, and I don’t like that feeling. I just told our guys the same thing. We got to get our edge back.”
  • Mikal Bridges has apologized to Deandre Ayton for his role in Tuesday’s argument that was perceived as a dispute between Ayton and Williams, Rankin states in a separate story. Bridges and Ayton clashed on the court shortly before Ayton and his coach were seen yelling during the time out. “It’s something we do. I feel like it was longer than usual,” Bridges explained. “Me and (Ayton) usually get into it and then five seconds later, we’re like best friends because we can do that to each other.”
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