Phoenix Suns’ 3 best points include ‘free-throw defense’ and more

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 4
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns focus No. 3: What about Devin Booker?

Everyone knows it’s the nose. Go ahead, snap your beak in three places and throw on a plastic mask – see if your work performance is on par with the work you did with a healthy honker.

Devin Booker, ever the pro, deflected any blame for his shooting struggles – but did toss the mask aside during Game 4 and played the rest of the night without it.

For the playoffs, Booker is connecting on 45 percent from the field, including 34 percent for 3-point range (and 92 percent from the line). He began the Suns’ run spectacularly, helping lead Phoenix to nine consecutive postseason wins.

His 40-point effort in Game 1 of this series with the Clippers came with solid shooting – 15-for-29 including 3-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line.

But after a convincing amount of early playoff success, Booker has struggled – by his standards, anyway – over the past three games.

Helped in large part by a third-quarter collision with Patrick Beverley’s head, the All-Star’s stats have been as unsightly as a messed-up nose.

Booker’s shooting, overall field goals with 3-point shooting, the past three games of this series:

  • Game 2: 5-16, 1-3
  • Game 3: 5-21, 1-7
  • Game 4: 8-22, 0-5

Booker said he’d probably wear the mask again to start Game 5 on Monday night in Phoenix, but his aggressive drives to the hoop — and the dangers that come with them — play an integral role in his team’s success.

He said as much to reporters following Game 4.

"You don’t realize how much you get hit in the face until after you take it off."