Devin Booker was having yet another stellar postseason performance on Tuesday. He scored 31 points in 25 minutes, and at one point, he even dapped up a baby sitting courtside. With Phoenix in the lead against the No. 8 seeded New Orleans Pelicansthe Suns appeared to be well on their way to a 2-0 series lead.
But in the third quarter, Booker went back to the locker room with an apparent injury. Suns coach Monty Williams revealed afterward that Booker was dealing with a hamstring issue that sidelined him for most of the second half. The Suns, heavily favored at home, went on to lose Game 2 to the Pelicans, 125-114, and find themselves tied in their series up at one game apiece.
Booker is expected to undergo treatment and testing on Wednesday in an effort to determine the severity of the injury.
“We’ll have more information tomorrow,” Suns coach Monty Williams said said following Game 2. “We’ve played without Chris [Paul] and Book before. If we have to play without Book, next man up. We’ve done that all year long. “
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Now the series will shift to New Orleans, and while the Suns will remain favorites with or without Booker, the pressure is suddenly on Phoenix. They no longer have home-court advantage in the series, and while they had an 8-3 record in the 11 games they played without Booker before clinching the No. 1 seed, playoff games are another matter entirely. Seven of those missed games were due to a hamstring injury Booker suffered in November, and while there’s no telling how serious this one is, that one kept him out for a little less than three weeks. Generating offense without your top scorer is a much taller order when teams have played you multiple times in a short span.
All the Suns can hope for now is a positive prognosis on Booker’s hamstring. The hamstring can be a fickle body part when it comes to injuries, as Booker’s teammate Chris Paul knows well. The Suns may be able to escape the first round without Booker, but they need him if they plan to make it back to the NBA Finals.
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