Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker: Mask doesn’t really affect me

Jun 24, 2021, 10:50 PM
Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers pressures Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the second...
Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers pressures Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of game three of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker said the mask he wore to protect his broken nose in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night did not affect him.

“I honestly don’t really see it and it doesn’t really affect me,” he said via Zoom postgame. “I talked to Rip (Hamilton) about it. I’ve been saying for a long time that he’s one of my favorite players of all time.

“I’ve had short conversations with him in the past and I thought this was the perfect time to talk to him some more and get some advice. He chopped it up with me for a minute, gave me some great feedback, put me in the right mindset to go out there. We have to just be better next game.”

Hamilton told Booker not to worry about the mask and to keep it on while shooting free throws so that it didn’t become a distraction.

Unfortunately for Suns fans, Booker’s stat line on the night would suggest the mask did have a negative effect.

The All-Star finished the 106-92 loss with 15 points on 5-of-21 shooting (23.8%) while going 1-for-7 from three (14.3%) and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.

Booker added five assists, five rebounds and one steal in 40 minutes played. He also had four turnovers and a plus-minus of -15.

After a historic triple-double in Game 1, he is 10-for-37 (27%) from the field in the past two games.

That’s mainly due to Clippers guard Pat Beverley, who is known for his defensive prowess and has been the main man guarding Booker in the series.

“He’s ultra-aggressive,” Booker said. “He’s denying, limiting touches. He has one objective out there and we understand that.

“I feel like other things should open (on the court). We need to look at the film, see what’s open and see what we can get.”

The loss marks the Suns’ first in nearly a month, as Phoenix’s nine-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

“The spirit is high. We move on to the next one,” Booker said of the Suns’ first loss since May 27. “That’s the type of team we are. We’ve been that way the whole season so we’re going to stick with that.

“We’ll come in tomorrow, go over film, regroup and get ready for Game 4.”

Phoenix will once again look to move one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals in Game 4 on Saturday.

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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