On Tuesday night, Devin Booker was having a great game against the New Orleans Pelicans. He was on fire scoring 31 points on 12 of 19 shooting, including 7 of those 12 shots being from beyond the arc. Booker was leading the Suns towards a win when he left the game in the third quarter, but he came back to the bench in the fourth, wearing warmups, not playing again. Devin Booker was diagnosed with a right hamstring injury while the Pelicans won the game by 11, tying the series heading home for games 3 and 4. Booker has been one of the key pieces to the Suns success this season, averaging 26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 4.8 APG. In the two games of the series so far, Booker has averaged 28.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 4.5 APG. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Booker had had a hamstring injury and it’s not the first time this season he’s had a hamstring injury.
Booker missed a handful of games earlier this season due to his left hamstring being injured. In the 14 games Booker missed this season, the Suns had an 8-6 record. When Booker was gone during the season, someone on the team was able to step up in his absence. Nobody was able to do that Tuesday night. Chris Paul ended up with 19 points while Mikal Bridges finished with 17. Deandre Ayton struggled from the field, scoring 10 points on 5-16 shooting. Jae Crowder finished with 5 points, 0-5 from three. On the other side of the court, it was a career night for Brandon Ingram, who finished with 37 points and 11 rebounds. CJ McCollum finished with 23 points. In game 1, McCollum and Ingram finished with 25 and 18 points, respectively. The pelicans have been able to find help from multiple players on and off the bench.
With several outlets reporting Booker will be out for games 3 and 4 and there being no timetable for his return, questions start to arise about how Booker’s absence will affect the team for this series and potentially deeper into the playoffs. The Pelicans have had plenty of help in the playoffs so far with Ingram and McCollum leading the way in scoring. Needing scoring from more options on the court, Booker’s absence will take away from other things on the court, mainly defense. While the next two games being in New Orleans should put give the team another chance at winning, Phoenix went an impressive 32-9 on the road.
Looking forward to the second round, if the Suns move on, they will face the Utah Jazz or the Dallas Mavericks. It is likely that Booker would miss at least the first game or two of the series. Utah continues to struggle this season, while Luka Doncic could miss the first couple of games of that series with his own injury. Phoenix went 3-1 against the Jazz and 3-0 against the Mavericks during the regular season. It should not be hard for the Suns to get past the Mavericks, even without Booker. The team may have a slightly harder time against the Jazz, with Donovan Mitchell averaging over 30 PPG in the playoffs so far. If Booker was set to be out for an extended amount of time and the Suns advance, there’s a possibility the team could meet the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals down a star. The Suns need to figure out what the gameplan without Devin Booker will be moving forward or they could be heading home to Phoenix down 3-1 in a worst-case scenario.