Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Suns still have utmost trust in Devin Booker after poor Game 1 performance

© Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of last year’s historic playoff run, Phoenix Suns’ fans had a lot of hope that Devin Booker was going to get it rolling right away in the first round against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

That did not end up happening, as Booker finished with 18 points, only shooting 5-for-16 from the floor, five assists and two rebounds in the Suns’ 120-95 loss to the Timberwolves in Game 1.

“We have others,” coach Frank Vogel said postgame. “We have a team. The Phoenix Suns are a team, it’s not about one player. I’m not worried about him getting going. He’s one of the best scorers in the league.”

Booker averaged over 35 points through the first eight games of last season’s postseason run, becoming the first player to do so since Michael Jordan.

The Timberwolves had the No. 1 defense in the NBA during the regular season, while the Suns swept them 3-0 during the season. Minnesota had all of the motivation and the personnel, most notably Jaden McDaniels and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, to take Booker out of his game for these reasons and was able to do exactly that.

McDaniels held Booker to 1-for-6 shooting yesterday, while Booker went 1-for-3 against Alexander-Walker, per

“We got to do a better job getting him open,” Vogel said of Booker. “Credit their perimeter players, they got some great perimeter defenders on that team. We can be more creative in getting him open.”

Alexander-Walker already had previous success guarding Booker entering this series, which you could argue statistically was the best in the NBA. Alexander-Walker held Booker to 0-for-9 shooting when being his primary defender in the regular season per

Booker was far from the only reason the Suns did not have success against the Timberwolves yesterday. Phoenix only had 16 assists to 15 turnovers. Minnesota outrebounded Phoenix 52-28, won the second-chance points 20-6 and bench points 41-18.

The Timberwolves shot 44-for-88 (50%) and 12-for-32 (37.5%) from deep compared to 33-for-75 (44%) on field goals for Phoenix and 9-for-28 (32.1%) from 3.

The Suns led 28-27 after the first quarter, in which Booker had five points on 2-of-5 shooting. However, the game changed in the second quarter, as the Timberwolves got all the momentum going into halftime with a 61-51 lead. Booker had three fouls and shot 1-of-4 in the second quarter alone, but did have arguably the best highlight of the game for the Suns on his one make.

Then, in the third quarter Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal were the only ones to make a field goal for the Suns. Booker had four points in the quarter, all from the free-throw line, going 0-for-4 from the field. Additionally, the Suns did not make a single field goal as a team for the last 7:03 of the quarter and were down 92-72 heading into the fourth. The game got too out of reach for Phoenix at this point.

“I was in foul trouble early,” Booker said. “We all just need to adjust to the playoff physicality. They’re being ultra-physical with me, and then I had three early fouls and got sent to the bench, so just trying to find a rhythm from there.”

(via AZ Central’s Duane Rankin)

Booker, Durant and Beal are being entrusted to bring Phoenix its first championship, and there will inevitably games where they all show up and others where it is tough to get one or two going. It is their first playoffs together after they played 41 games together in the regular season.

Durant and Beal were two of the few bright spots for Phoenix, specifically Durant scoring 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting and adding seven rebounds. Beal had 15 points and six assists despite 0 field-goal attempts in the first quarter.

“I just think (Booker) missed some tough ones, some easy ones that he normally makes,” Durant said. “I think he could be more aggressive to shoot more shots in the first half, but for the most part, he’s trying to play the right way, trying to play hard … so I’m not worried about Book. I think he will come out here and have a great Game 2.”

Frank Vogel remains confident of Eric Gordon despite Game 1 woes

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

More in Phoenix Suns