TTX Sports >Basketball Hub >2024 NBA Playoffs: Suns’ Devin Booker remains optimistic despite struggles vs Timberwolves

2024 NBA Playoffs: Suns’ Devin Booker remains optimistic despite struggles vs Timberwolves

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As the Phoenix Suns fell into a0-2 hole against the Minnesota Timberwolves, star guard DevinBooker remains steadfast as their team faces an uphill climb fromhere on out.

Booker only scored 20 points on6-13 shooting and ended up fouling out of the game as the Wolvesput up the finishing touches of their 105-93 Game 2 win.

The 6-foot-6 guard has struggledover his last four meetings with the Wolves dating back to theregular season and these past two playoff games, scoring just 13,23, 18, and 20. He never scored more than 23, and just shot only 35percent from the floor and 20-57 overall.

"It's obviously something I needto be better with," Booker said as he finished Game 2 with sixturnovers and fouled out with 20 points.

The Suns, despite some goodstretches here and there, kind of have been caught up with theTimberwolves’ runs in the third quarter of both games, gettingburied amidst the adversity of playing on the road.

“(This) is when you have to beas close as ever,” Booker said. “In a hostile environment. On theroad. Just talk your way through it. Hold each other accountable.Have honest conversations and understand it’s for the best of theteam.”

Among the issues the Suns facedin both games, apart from the usual takes from naysayers about theneed to have a real point guard around their big three – are themonly taking 18 three-point shot attempts all game. In the year2024, that just cannot happen.

Teams have to keep the defenseshonest, and against this stifling Wolves defense which can adapt toany situation, being predictable with most of their shots taken inthe midrange and inside the paint is giving Minnesota the unlikelyadvantage of knowing what’s coming and being able to prepare for itdefensively. The Suns have to incorporate additional offensivesets, particularly to take more threes, stretch out the defense,and in turn open up the paint more and give space for their threecreators to make plays.

"My frustration is just withinthe team. We need to execute. We play well when we're playing andthen we need to stick together once things turn bad. We've donethat throughout the season. Something that has to becorrected."

It does not help with the NBA’sbest three-point shooter Grayson Allen being out with an ankleinjury, but that does make the Suns all the more to have to shootthose threes to compensate for Allen’s production. For a player ofBooker’s caliber – All-Star, All-NBA, a top 10 scorer in theleague, having that kind of performance is just unacceptable. TheSuns won’t be able to win with that kind of production from him,and he needs to step up and provide more.

“We’re all trying to fight outthere, and so far in this series, once it’s turned to s—, we’vekind of separated instead of being together,’’ Booker said. “Andthat’s everybody, top to bottom. It’s something we got to figureout.”

A huge chunk of the creditshould be given to the Timberwolves’ defense as well, which is asgood as anybody has seen in 20 years. Tenacious, swarming – it justcomes right at you all at once. Booker alongside his co-stars KevinDurant and Bradley Beal have struggled against it for two games butnow they have to make the adjustments as the series shifts toPhoenix.

Minnesota took care of theirhome court. Now it’s up to Booker and the Suns to do the same intheirs.

“Don’t count us out. It’s aseries for a reason.”

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