NBA

'We got smoke' – Booker no longer 'friendly-friendly' with Doncic's Mavericks after close Suns victory

By Sports Desk March 05, 2023

Devin Booker admitted there is some extra feeling in the rivalry between his side and Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks after Kevin Durant hit the game-winner in the Phoenix Suns' 130-126 victory on Sunday.

In a star-studded showdown, Durant (37 points), Booker (36), Doncic (34) and Kyrie Irving (30) all eclipsed 30 points each, and the contest took on a playoff atmosphere in the second half.

The Suns were unceremoniously dumped out of last season's playoffs on their home floor by the Mavericks in a 123-90 Game 7 blowout, and the rivalry only grew stronger after Booker and Doncic went nose-to-nose in the final seconds on Sunday.

After Durant hit a mid-range pull-up to give the Suns a 128-126 lead with 12 seconds left, Doncic tried to answer and send it to overtime, but his uncontested layup somehow did not drop after discarding his defender.

Durant snatched down the rebound to seal the game, and Booker appeared to have words for Doncic about the miss, with the pair having to be separated.

When asked after the game about what was said, Booker claimed he was initially talking to the referee before Doncic directed a comment his way.

"I was talking to the ref – [Doncic] said something first so I responded," he said. "You guys say you don't want everyone to be friendly-friendly – there you go, we got some smoke.

"It's just two competitors going at it, like I just said, everyone speaks on how friendly the NBA is now, and don't like that. I've got no problem with Luka – on or off the court – but when we're competing, we're competing."

Doncic laughed at the notion Booker did not instigate the scuffle, and subtly referenced his own "everybody acting tough when they're up" comments from the playoffs by telling the Suns star to keep the same energy throughout the contest.

"Oh no, he was talking to me." he said. "It's not for TV, I would get fined, the NBA would fine me. Based on the words, I don't think [Booker was talking to the referee]. 

"It's fine, it's just a competitive game, it's all good – just next time don't wait until there's three seconds left to talk."

But Doncic also had plenty of nice things to say about his Western Conference rivals.

"They're incredible," he said. "After everything, those two guys are probably one of the best in the league – Book and KD – but I love it, it's competitive.

"I think today was a great game to watch, and they have an amazing team."

Related items

  • NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight

    LeBron James scored his 40,000th point, but the Denver Nuggets closed strong and won their sixth straight game, 124-114 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

    James finished with 26 points and nine assists while reaching his latest milestone on a layup with 10:39 left in the second quarter. He extended his lead as the league’s career scoring leader.

    Nikola Jokić had 35 points and 10 rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. added 25 and 10 and Jamal Murray had 24 points, 11 assists and six boards to help Denver get within one-half game of Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead.

    The Nuggets closed the game on a 16-6 run, with Aaron Gordon’s 3-pointer with 3:49 left putting them ahead for good.

    Jokic made a turnaround hook before Murray hit a jumper and Justin Holiday converted a running layup for a 117-110 advantage. After Anthony Davis’s basket got the Lakers within 117-112 with 1:49 left, Murray made a layup and Jokic added a layup of his own.

     

    Booker injures ankle in Suns’ loss

    Jalen Green poured in 34 points with six 3-pointers to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-109 win over the Phoenix Suns, who lost star guard Devin Booker to an ankle injury.

    Booker left late in the game after he injured his right ankle when he stepped on teammate Royce O’Neale’s foot. Booker had 24 points in 38 minutes before departing.

    Fred VanVleet scored 24 points and Alperen Sengun added 21 with 10 rebounds as the Rockets snapped a three-game skid and avenged Thursday’s loss at Phoenix.

    Kevin Durant had 30 points for the Suns, who had a nine-game home winning streak snapped.

     

    Butler leads Heat past Jazz

    Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his season-high 37 points in the third quarter and the Miami Heat defeated the Utah Jazz 126-120 for their 10th win in 13 games.

    Bam Adebayo added 23 points and Caleb Martin had 18 for the Heat, who beat the Jazz at home for the seventh straight time.

    Butler hit all three of his 3-point attempts and had a steal, extending his streak of having at least one 3 and one steal to 13 consecutive games – the fourth-longest run in the NBA this season and tying Tim Hardaway for the second-longest such streak in Heat history.

    Keyonte George scored 31 points and Lauri Markkanen added 25 as the Jazz lost their third straight and eighth in nine games.

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

  • Clippers star Westbrook sidelined with hand fracture Clippers star Westbrook sidelined with hand fracture

    Russell Westbrook has been sidelined indefinitely after fracturing his left hand during the Los Angeles Clippers' 140-115 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday.

    Westbrook was hurt with around 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter, colliding with Jordan Poole as he attempted to poke the ball past the Washington guard.

    The 2017 NBA MVP exited the game around two minutes later and reports have suggested he may miss around a month, having sat out 14 games when he broke his other hand in the second game of the 2014-15 season.

    Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, however, was unable to offer a timeline on Westbrook's recovery after the game, saying: "I just feel bad for Russ right now. 

    "You never want to see a player get hurt. Poole drove around, and he tried to deflect it from the back. I think he hit his elbow with his hand.

    "So we don't know what timetable, we don't know if he needs surgery or anything yet. But he's out right now. So we're just trying to figure it out."

    Westbrook was the last remaining Clipper to have not missed a single game all season, but the team handled his absence well, improving to 38-20 with a dominant win.

    James Harden led the team with 28 points while Kawhi Leonard added 27 and Paul George tacked on 22, as the Clippers bounced back from Wednesday's defeat to a LeBron James-inspired Los Angeles Lakers team.

    For however long Westbrook is out, Lue knows he will be a major miss, saying: "He's going to stay engaged regardless. That's just who he is. 

    "We need him around, we need his energy, we need him talking, the way he leads.

    "Until he is able to get back, we're going to miss him. So hopefully it's a speedy recovery and we get him back sooner rather than later, but I'm not sure of the timetable right now."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.