Luka Doncic and Devin Booker exchange words as Sun’s top mavs

DALLAS — A lot has changed for the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks since the teams met in the Western Conference semifinals last season, led by the blockbuster trades both franchises struck with the Brooklyn Nets last month for superstars to win.

One thing has stayed the same: Devin Booker and Luka Doncic really don’t like each other.

That was demonstrated once again as the young faces of the franchises found each other in the dying seconds of the Suns’ 130-126 win in a thrilling game Sunday afternoon at the American Airlines Center.

The confrontation came after Doncic missed an open, 4-foot floater that would have leveled the score for possession immediately after new Suns star Kevin Durant gave Phoenix the lead with a pull-up jumper. Taking offense at Booker’s comment after the miss, Doncic yelled at Booker to “Shut up!” before moving towards his fellow All-Star guard and exchanging more words, resulting in double technical fouls.

Booker said he told the official that Doncic pushed off and should have been called for an offensive foul. Doncic disagreed.

“From the words I don’t think so,” said Doncic, who has had 14 technical fouls this season, two close to a one-game automatic suspension. “It’s okay. It’s just a competitive game.

“It’s all good. Just next time, don’t wait until there are three seconds left to talk.”

As Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said, “The bad blood is still there” between the Suns and the Mavs, stemming from Dallas’ excitement over the West’s top seed in last year’s second round. It was an easy streak highlighted by Doncic, who muttered that “everybody acts tough when they stand up” while walking into the locker room after the Mavs’ Game 5 loss and stood next to Booker and hugged him during Dallas’ win in game 7 .

“You say you don’t want everyone to be friendly, friendly,” Booker said after scoring 36 points in Sunday’s win. “There you go. We smoked something.”

It was a frustrating afternoon for Doncic, who was plagued by left thigh pain. He spent his normal rest period early in the second quarter in the Mavs locker room stretching with Mavs manual therapist Casey Spangler.

Doncic said the hamstring has been a problem for the past week and especially on Sunday when he said his left leg was weaker when trying to shoot or jump. He had 34 points, but Doncic had poor shooting performance, scoring 8 of 23 from the floor and 1 of 9 from 3-point range. However, Doncic said his sore thigh had nothing to do with his miss with the game on the line.

“I just missed it,” said Doncic. “One of my friends texted me, ‘I would have done that.'”

The other Superstars in the game certainly lived up to their expectations.

Mavs guard Kyrie Irving, whose trade request from the Nets helped give the Suns an opportunity to trade for Durant, had 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting and seven assists. Despite this, Dallas fell back to 2-5 in games Irving has played alongside Doncic, with all five losses decided in the final seconds.

Durant and Booker combined for 73 points despite constantly selling out the Dallas defense to try to force the ball out of their hands, and willingly allowed the Phoenix role players to get open 3-pointers. (Reserve forward Ish Wainright, who scored 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the second half, was a major factor in Phoenix’s win.)

Booker had 36 points on 15-of-25 shooting and 10 assists. Durant had 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including the last-minute go-ahead when the Mavs once paired him with a doubles team to take the ball out of his hands and then failed to send a second defender on Durant got the ball back.

As intense as the rivalry between the teams is, Doncic has immense respect for the Suns’ talent.

“I mean, they’re amazing,” he said. “These two guys are one of the best [duos] in the league, book and KD. but i love it It’s competitive. I think today was a great game to watch.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *