Earlier this season, Phoenix Suns superstar guard Devin Booker stated that the team needed to drastically improve their chemistry, and their starting five alignment, but if Monday’s night last-second victory over the Dallas Mavericks was any indication, they are figuring it out.
Booker hit a clutch, game-winning three point shot with 1.5 seconds remaining, setup by a DeAndre Ayton screen and Chris Paul’s pass on the right wing, to edge the Mavericks 109-108. Paul used a play that he learned from his former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers to setup Booker, whom he had confidence in.
“All the confidence in the world,” Paul said of Booker taking the final shot, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “When I spun and knew Book was coming there, I could see him. His eyes were huge. He knew he wanted the ball — big-time shot.”
Paul finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Booker, who finished with 24 points in his return from missing the last four games with a left hamstring strain, spoke of Paul’s impact on the team, and him personally, this season.
“I look forward to them when the opportunity presents itself,” Booker said. “That’s why we work so hard. That’s why we train so hard. I use my imagination in my workouts to put myself in those situations.”
“I imagine if I would have taken Book out in the fourth; that would have been the first time you saw a player knock a coach out on the sideline,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “So I just thought I’d stay away from that scenario and let him play, as long as he was looking good.”
Paul praised the team’s late-game execution saying it demonstrated their “growth” as a unit.
“I was telling the guys in the locker room that I don’t know if I can ever retire because the emotional roller coaster that you go on during a game — like for real, for real — there’s no high like that,” Paul said. “The energy when you’re pissed and mad, and then the joy when you win the game. It’s really nice to get a win like this with this group of guys that we’ve got.”