Devin Booker continues to show off his Mamba mentality.
In the first two games of the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks’ defense was torn apart by the ball movement and outside shots from the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul is excellent at exploiting lags, especially when Brook Lopez takes over for him and is at his mercy when he’s on the perimeter.
Outside of their Big 3 with Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Suns general manager James Jones has assembled a versatile squad capable of hitting the outside shot and being interchangeable players in defense. Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig have proven to be capable 3 and D players who allow their stars to thrive and have the space to operate.
Sadly, injuries continue to be a scenario in this playoffs, with the Suns losing Dario Saric to a torn ACL in Game 1. This incredible Suns playoff series could have been derailed if Chris Paul’s shoulder contusion during the first against the serious Lakers.
More than Mr. Charles in charge
While the Suns have been fortunate enough to face teams without their stars, they have also faced their own adversity with Chris Paul missing the first two games of the Clippers series due to health and safety protocol. Booker broke his nose against the Clippers but missed a game and continues his stellar playoffs with fluid offensive play and fiery defense that saw the Suns secure two wins after their first NBA title. In Booker’s first playoff series, he proved the stage wasn’t too big for him to shine.
Booker showed his ability to seize the opportunity with incredible performances such as scoring 47 points to end the Lakers’ season in Closing Game 6, scoring 34 points to help the Suns sweep the Nuggets in Game 4 and post a triple of 40 points. -double to start the series against the Clippers in the absence of Chris Paul.
Booker’s first two games of the NBA Finals were also excellent with 27 and 31 points in two wins for the Suns. After averaging 10 points in Game 3, Booker rebounded tremendously in Game 4. His most recent effort, a 42-point offensive explosion in a close loss in Game 4, shows his winning mentality and prowess. offensive.
If Booker hadn’t made five fouls to start the fourth quarter, forcing him off the bench after absolutely torching the Bucks for 18 points in the third quarter, the result could easily have been in favor of the Suns, who have lost 109-103.
Booker still finished with 42 points after hitting a variety of midrange jumpers and Kobe-style fadeaways that proved a defense can’t do anything when he rolls it. Booker has now scored the most points in a player’s first playoff series in NBA history with 542 points in 20 games.
Booker’s quick release, poise, and spatial awareness allow him to pull off a variety of shots consistently. Booker continues to live up to the quote written on his shoes, “Be Legendary,” which was told to him by his mentor, the late great Kobe Bryant. Booker has that killer mentality and competitive nature that allows him to block out any distractions and focus only on putting the ball in the basket, much like Kobe did. Expect Booker to continue knocking down tough shots in the remaining matches and the rest of the squad to perform better in Game 5.
The biggest offseason signing turned out to be Chris Paul who led a young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges to the NBA Finals. The Suns were fortunate enough to face the Lakers without Anthony Davis for the last half of the series, the Nuggets without Jamal Murray and the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard. The Suns were able to take full advantage of these situations to emerge victorious.
The Suns are now tested against the Bucks in the most competitive finals since the Cavaliers vs. Warriors 2016. While LeBron James has generally dominated this time of the season reaching the NBA Finals in 10 of the past 15 seasons, it’s great to have new players on the bigger basketball scene. .
The story of a 36-year-old Chris Paul on the verge of winning his first championship after 16 NBA seasons is absolutely astonishing and intriguing. The series is now tied 2-2 with the fifth game scheduled for Saturday.