The Suns have been able to even up their second-round playoff series behind phenomenal shot-making from Devin Booker, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Booker was 14-of-18 from the field in Sunday’s Game 4 victory after hitting 20-of-25 Friday night. MacMahon notes that the 331 points Booker has scored so far in the playoffs are the most by anyone through nine games since Michael Jordan 33 years ago.
“I know the spots where I’m supposed to be aggressive and where I’m supposed to make ’em pay,” Booker said. “I talked about transition earlier and just trying to get out and play fast, so they can’t set their defense and set their double-team. I don’t usually get open shots. So this is a new thing with having (Kevin Durant‘s) gravity on the floor.”
Sunday also marked the best game of the series for Durant, who delivered 36 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Injuries limited him to eight regular season games after he joined the Suns in February, so he’s still adjusting to his new teammates.
“To be honest, we’re still learning each other, learning which plays work for both of us, which plays work for our team as well,” Durant told reporters. “But at the core of it, it’s just all about playing ball and getting to your spots and just playing aggressive. I think we both do that. Book is always comfortable out there in any spot on the floor, and I feel like I’m the same way. The more reps we get, the better we going to get.”
There’s more from Phoenix:
- Deandre Ayton tried to put aside the controversy that arose after he was pulled from Game 3 with 4:57 left to play (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). After being limited to four points Friday night, Ayton responded with eight points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes Sunday. “I know everybody seen me getting checked out late (in Game 3),” he said. “I don’t blame coach (Monty Williams). You’re trying to win.”
- Landry Shamet scored 19 points Sunday and played 30 minutes, the most of any Phoenix reserve. He admitted being upset with his limited role in the playoffs and the criticism the team’s bench has received (video link).
- Suns owner Mat Ishbia said there’s no need for the league to take further action following a sideline incident with Nikola Jokic in Game 4. “Suspending or fining anyone over last nights incident would not be right,” Ishbia tweeted. “I have a lot of respect for Jokic and don’t want to see anything like that.”