How the young Suns star plays in Wednesday’s Game 4 at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum will go a long way toward determining this series.
“It wasn’t [going] well, obviously. But there’s nights like that. The most important part to me is winning the game and we didn’t do that, so I’m more frustrated about that,” Booker said. “But we have a few days off here. We’re going to get back right and going to go over film and be ready Wednesday.”
Booker finished with just 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting. He didn’t get the looks he wanted, and got pulled with 48 seconds left in the third quarter, not to return.
“I think I can get better ones. We’ll make that happen,” Booker said. “The point of the game is to win it, and there were other things that went on throughout the game. You can say it’s a make/miss game, but at the end of the day you have to make the other team miss and get easy opportunities for your team. We didn’t do that.”
It was his worst shooting performance since going 2-for-11 on Feb. 10, 2020 at the Lakers. Almost exactly a year earlier, he had gone 2-for-10 on Feb. 13, 2019. Booker in essence goes about a year between games this poor.
It could’ve been the withering defense from Khris Middleton in the first half, or the constant Bucks switching in the second. Maybe Booker was being troubled by his facial injury (suffered in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals from an inadvertent Patrick Beverley head-butt). Or perhaps it was his usual Game 3 woes.
Booker had come into Sunday averaging 29.2 points on 43.5 percent shooting in the NBA Finals; but in the Suns’ four Game 3s this postseason, he’s down to 18 points on 32 percent shooting and Phoenix is 1-3.
Whatever the case, the Suns are going to need a bounce-back on Wednesday.
“Probably a bunch of everything. Their aggression, their defense. They keyed on him. He missed some shots. That’s going to happen. … He’ll bounce back,” said Monty Williams, who sat with his arm around Booker for a long talk after pulling him. “Just talking to him about the game, the kind of force we have to play with. Just normal stuff.
“This is one of those games that you typically, in NBA speak, say flush it. But you can’t in the Finals. We got to watch the film and learn and get back to playing our kind of basketball consistently.”
With the Suns’ loss on Sunday, Chris Paul-led squads fell to 1-12 in their past 13 postseason games with Scott Foster as the lead official. And the one win came when Paul didn’t play.
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