He missed. But if you look at Booker’s long history of making crazy clutch shots, though, you might re-think your opinion that it was a bad shot for Booker.
Because the Suns are playing so many close games this year, Booker has had a chance to make or miss a few. Or a lot. The Suns as a team have been part of 10 one-possession final scores plus overtime games this season (Booker was healthy for 8), and it’s only been 43 games. The youngest team in the NBA is 3-7 in those games.
Let’s just recap this season first.
Game 2 vs. Denver — Booker drove into paint for contact
Booker got the ball near mid-court and drove the lane to force contact on a layup. Instead, he got blocked when Jerami Grant helped in to block Booker’s short shot after he’d beaten his primary defender.
I’m no good with video editing, so you’ll have to FF this one to the end to see Booker’s drive.
On the very next night, it was Booker making big shots late in the fourth quarter to stun the Clippers. They just weren’t in the final seconds because Booker had already sealed it earlier.
Game 4 — Booker drove and passed out to open shooter
In game 4, a 96-95 loss to the Jazz, Booker drove and kicked it out to Kelly Oubre Jr. for the open three to take the lead with 14 seconds left. Oubre missed.
Game 15 — Booker drew game-closing free throws
Booker was the only guy to score for the Suns it seemed (35 of 100 points to be exact) on a Saturday afternoon in Minnesota, and he sealed the game late with some free throws in a 100-98 win for the Suns.
Game 30 — Booker MADE tying three but was blocked on winning three
Booker tied the Suns-Nuggets game with a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, which was answered by a Jamal Murray step-back 22.5 footer to give Denver the 113-111 win. Booker missed a three in the corner (blocked by Jerami Grant) as time expired.
Game 38 — Booker clutch threes beat Magic
Booker had possibly the greatest offense/defense sequence of his career with a three-steal-three-stop to take the Suns from a 94-90 deficit to 96-94 lead inside thirty seconds to go. Watch his back-to-back clutch threes here.
Game 43 — Booker missed long three
Yes he missed on Monday night. But the logic was sound. Booker was on fire. He was 4/5 on threes, and the Suns went for the win because they were running out of guys (Oubre had fouled out; Baynes/Frank/Cam all out) and the ones remaining were totally tired. They decided to get Booker an early three to win as soon as he had daylight. He took it. He missed. It happens.
Monty said no Cameron, no Kelly, Mikal just hurt his shoulder, and Booker just played the whole 2nd half, they need to go for the win. If Book passes to anyone on this play its either a bad shooter or Ayton in no mans land surrounded by defenders with 2 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/nDb9Yp8eqs— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) January 21, 2020
Booker will get more chances at game winners as the season goes on. I’m sure he will make some of them. And he will miss some too. That’s the way it goes.
By my count, he has won a lot of the Suns games this year before the final seconds. He leads the Suns in scoring (26.8) and is second in assists (6.4). His 63.2% true shooting is nearly impossible for a guard.
The Suns 18-25 because Booker is so damn good.
While we are here, let’s take a walk off down memory lane... you know, back when Booker wasn’t constantly blitzed and double-teamed on important — or any — possessions.
Here he is on November 4, 2018 beating the Grizzlies:
Forcing overtime at the buzzer vs. Bucks — November 17, 2017:
It happened in February 2017 over the Kings:
And then this one beat the Mavericks in March 2017:
This wasn’t at the buzzer (there were 31 seconds left), but he hit a game-winner over the Knicks in January 2017 too:
This game-tying shot to force overtime against the Pelicans happened in 2016:
That’s what I could find on YouTube and searching the annals of Bright Side.
Did I miss any? If I did, please add them to the comments and I will edit the story so this is a true complete list.
Chin up, Suns fans.
You’re lucky to have Devin Armani Booker take the last shot in any game to win it.