Suns and Devin Booker know what’s at stake ahead of Game 7

May 14, 2022, 6:45 PM

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket against Reggie Bullock #25 of the Dallas M...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket against Reggie Bullock #25 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter of Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are in the the awaiting moments of a what is a critical Game 7 to book a trip to the Western Conference finals to face the Golden State Warriors.

The benefit of having the best record in the league, the Suns get to play the do-or-die game in front of their home faithful.

Unlike any other time in the series, the Suns and Mavericks had two days off between Game 6 and 7.

“Right after the game, I was kind of disappointed,” Suns guard Devin Booker said after practice Saturday. “I was hoping it was a back-to-back and we could just play it. Everybody in the series probably benefited from the extra day of rest and letting the dust settle a little bit.”

Waiting to get the taste from Game 6 out of its mouth, Phoenix knows the stakes on Sunday’s tilt against the Mavericks. While they would have rather taken care of business prior to a Game 7, the Suns understand the opportunity that’s presented.

“I’m going to be wired,” Booker said. “I think everybody will be on both sides. Very excited for the opportunity.”

The opportunity of a Game 7 is something Suns forward Jae Crowder is familiar with, as Sunday will be the fourth time he’s played in a game with such stakes in his career.

“It’s do-or-die, obviously it’s got a lot of emotions in the game,” Crowder said. “The game is about who imposes their will the most for 48 minutes. They will be the winner.”

Prior to the first Game 7 of his career, Crowder said the anxiety was there but you have to try to treat it as a normal game as best you can. For many of his teammates, Sunday’s game will be the most pressure packed of their careers.

“Understanding your season is at stake, that adds pressure to it,” Booker said. “A good pressure. I think we have the guys in this gym to embrace that and take it in and understand what’s at stake.”

Ahead of the game, Crowder plans to unwind by relaxing by the pool and will try to watch a movie at night. He says he continues to check his normal pregame boxes like re-watching film of the second half of Game 6.

“To prepare yourself is whatever makes you comfortable,” Crowder said. “When I step away I feel more fresh.”

The Suns forward touched on how important it was for Phoenix to get home court in order for a situation like this.

Crowder expects Sunday’s game to have a different level of desperation. From his experience in Game 7’s, he’d know.

“You’re gonna see two teams with desperation, see two teams fighting for each and every possession,” Crowder said. “But that’s what it’s about. That’s what the playoffs is about, that’s what Game 7 is about.”

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