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Booker, Suns Locked and Loaded

The Phoenix Suns welcomed back All-Star guard Devin Booker Monday night in a win against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Devin Booker suffered a hamstring strain against the Denver Nuggets on January 22. He missed four games recovering from the injury where his absence was definitely felt on the offensive side of the ball.

In the first two games without Booker, the Suns’ offense was very stagnant and struggled to produce at a high enough level to win games. The Suns ended up shooting an average field goal percentage of 39% in the two losses to Denver and the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

“It’s all about being consistent,” said Coach Monty Williams in a postgame press conference, “when we are not consistent every night, this will be the result.”

However, against the Warriors and in the first game of the back-to-back against the Mavs, the Suns’ offense started to get back into a groove. The Suns found their shots, hitting an average of 45% from the field. Bench players such as Abdel Nader, Langston Galloway and Frank Kaminsky also started to produce a significant amount of bench points. This led to five players scoring double figures in two straight wins, something the Suns were missing earlier in the season.

“I haven’t really been playing a lot of minutes,” said Galloway in a press conference, “to get an opportunity to get out there and play a significant amount of minutes is key.”

With Devin Booker returning to the lineup Monday night, the Suns were riding the momentum of the past two wins against playoff-caliber teams. The Mavs controlled a majority of the game, having the biggest lead of the game for either team at 11 in the third quarter. However, Booker and Chris Paul battled in the fourth, putting their team in a position to win with six seconds left on the clock. Paul got the ball up top, drove to the right side and found Booker behind the three-point line for the game-winner. 

“I think we are making a push right now,” said Booker after the game, “to get this second win on the road trip is great energy to get the next one.”

The Suns found an offensive groove in the last two games without Booker from their bench. With him back in the lineup, the Suns are hoping to keep riding this momentum throughout the next stretch of games and shoot themselves back up to the top of the west. The Suns have one more road game on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans and will return home for a seven-game stretch. 

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