Devin Booker issued a strong statement after the Phoenix Suns collapsed to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 19. The All-Star guard said the team “let one slip tonight.”
“We’re at the point of the season where every game counts,” Booker said. “You just want to get as many wins as you can. We let one slip tonight.”
The Suns were outscored 34-24 in the fourth quarter by the Thunder. Phoenix head coach Monty Williams took the blame for the loss, saying he should have put different players in the game.
“This one’s on me,” Williams said. “I’ve got to get guys in the game that can create a rhythm, especially on defense. We’re giving up way too many 30-point quarters consecutively. That’s on me. I have to figure out the guys who can play together defensively as opposed to the starters to increase the momentum from an offensive and defensive standpoint.”
Booker was incredible for the Suns against the Thunder. The superstar scored 46 points while shooting 64.3% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc. However, Booker’s running mate — Chris Paul — didn’t have his best shooting game. CP3 put up just 14 points while shooting 33.3% overall.
Devin Booker Almost Got More Help at the Trade Deadline
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on March 2 that Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley nearly went to the Suns in a three-team trade involving the Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks. The Los Angeles Lakers wound up acquiring Beasley and Vanderbilt.
“Atlanta also tried to acquire Crowder in three-team trade talks with Utah and Phoenix centered around Collins going to Utah, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley going to Phoenix, and Crowder and Shamet going to Atlanta,” Scotto reported. “Among the reasons this scenario didn’t materialize was a disagreement in draft pick compensation that would’ve gone to Utah in the talks.”
The Suns traded for two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant at the trade deadline. KD has played in three games with Phoenix, averaging 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 69.0% from the floor, 53.8% from 3 and 88.2% from the free-throw line. The Suns are 3-0 with Durant in the lineup.
When Will Kevin Durant Be Back?
Durant injured himself before the Thunder game on March 8. The one-time MVP is dealing with a left ankle injury.
Williams talked about Durant’s injury progress before the Suns defeated the Orlando Magic on March 16. Durant has progressed to taking standstill shots.
“It’s just part of his progression,” Williams said. “He hasn’t done anything outside of that. We obviously have to not just be careful, but a lot of boxes need to be checked. So we’ll see how he responds to standard shooting today, we’ll re-evaluate tomorrow and every day is a progression. That’s what he’s done. It’s a normal progression to this type of injury and that’s just where he is right now. Now he’s just doing standstill shots.”
The Suns are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 38-33. They have 11 games left in the regular season, beginning on March 22 against the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena.