When the Phoenix Suns lost the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals to the Denver Nuggets, then lost point guard Chris Paul to a groin injury, many figured they were in deep trouble.
But they took the next two contests at home to tie the series, thanks mainly to some white-hot shooting and offensive production from Devin Booker.
The Suns and Nuggets will face off in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday, but Phoenix will have to play without Paul, as he will miss his third straight game due to his groin injury.
Chris Paul is on the Ball Arena court 3 1/2 hours before tip getting in a workout. He’ll miss his third straight game tonight due to a left groin strain. pic.twitter.com/ETtByhJ0oS
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 9, 2023
Paul, who just turned 38 years of age, isn’t the player he was just a couple of years ago, especially offensively, as his scoring average dipped to a career-low 13.9 points a game in the regular season.
In seven postseason games thus far, he has managed just 12.4 points a contest while shooting only 41.8 percent overall and 32.1 percent from 3-point range.
But Paul is still a very effective floor general, and his team needs the 7.4 assists per game he has put up in the playoffs so far this year.
Without him, Booker has become a supernova, shooting an unreal percentage in the last two games.
King Booker’s last 2 games:
— Booker Muse (@DevinBookerMuse) May 8, 2023
Kevin Durant has also stepped up his game with 36 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field in Game 4.
For the Suns to claim Game 5 in Denver and take a 3-2 series lead, they will need their bench to step up, much like it did in Game 4 when reserve sharpshooter Landry Shamet put up 19 points and hit five 3-pointers.NEXT: Stats Show Devin Booker Is Playing Like A Familiar NBA Legend