Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum discuss how they were affected by playing with Suns coach Earl Watson, following Sunday’s Portland win over Phoenix. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Suns guard Devin Booker discusses his game-winning play to beat the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Sarah McLellan and Doug Haller discuss the Suns’ loss to the Lakers, tanking for best possible draft pick and the Pac-12 basketball semifinals.
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Suns guard Devin Booker reacts to Thursday night’s loss to the Lakers.
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Suns guard Devin Booker talks about his team’s fight in Tuesday’s loss to the Wizards and the team’s attitude after P.J. Tucker was traded at the trade deadline. Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Shot Clock: Final Four contenders, Isaiah Thomas vs. Tyler Ulis and Taijuan Walker has a good outing for the Diamondbacks. Video: azcentral sports
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Phoenix Suns’ Tyler Ulis talks about his game-winning shot against the Celtics on Sunday, March 5, 2017. (Doug Haller/azcentral sports)
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Suns center Alan Williams discusses Friday night’s win over the Thunder.
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Broadcaster Al McCoy, “The Voice of the Suns” talks about his induction into the Suns Ring of Honor on Mar. 3, 2017 in Phoenix, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley break down the NBA MVP race and a possible reunion in the Cardinals defensive backfield.
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Jose Calderon made 415K for two hours and he didn’t even play. Veuer’s Nick Cardona explains why.
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This point guard is making his next inspirational move. Buzz60’s Emily Drooby (@emilydrooby) has the story.
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Former NBA player Eddie Johnson tells us who’s favored to win the NBA championship.
USA TODAY Sports
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PJ Tucker, after being traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Toronto Raptors said: “Phoenix has changed my life. All the people here, all the fans… I couldn’t ask for a better place.” Video: Doug Haller/azcentral sports
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Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller of azcentral sports talk about the Suns’ defensive future and the trade of P.J. Tucker to Toronto. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Phoenix Suns center Alan Williams watches his mother, Jeri Williams, sworn in as Phoenix police chief in Chesapeake Energy Arena. (Paul Coro/azcentral sports)
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Hosted by head coach Earl Watson, who says the Suns “embrace and celebrate our youth.” Video: Phoenix Suns
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Blazers guards Lillard, McCollum on Suns coach Watson
Suns’ Devin Booker on buzzer-beater to beat Mavericks
Shot Clock: Suns-Lakers, tanking, Pac-12 picks
Devin Booker on loss to Lakers
Devin Booker on Suns’ loss to Wizards
Shot Clock: Final Four contenders, Ulis vs. Thomas, Taijuan Walker
Suns’ Tyler Ulis on buzzer beater
Alan Williams on Suns’ win over Thunder
Broadcaster Al McCoy talks about his induction into the Suns Ring of Honor
Shot Clock: NBA MVP debate, Cardinals DBs
NBA player makes $415,000 for two hours
NBA star will donate $1,000 for every point and assist he makes
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PJ Tucker after being traded by Suns: ‘I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a tough day for me’
Suns’ trade of P.J. Tucker no big surprise
Alan Williams watching his mother’s police chief ceremony
Suns ’embrace youth’ in WeArePHX ‘Momentum’ video
Devin Booker pointed it out about 20 minutes after he sank Saturday night’s winning jumper to lift the Suns over the Dallas Mavericks. He’s hit clutch shots these past two seasons, but not all of them have dropped, each one a learning lesson for the young guard.
Before Sunday’s home game against Portland, coach Earl Watson recalled a couple times last season when Booker missed with the game on the line. Then a 19-year-old rookie, Booker was so upset at the time he sent a text message to his coach and apologized.
Then came last month’s game at Chicago. With the Bulls leading 108-106 in the final seconds, Booker drew a foul from Dwyane Wade while attempting a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. Booker calmly sank the first two free throws, but he missed the third, sending the contest into overtime, where the Bulls prevailed 128-121.
“That free throw in Chicago really bothered him. It really bothered him,’’ Watson said. “As soon as he missed, if you looked at his face, he was cussing the whole way to the bench. I’ve been around Book a long time and you can just see in his face (when) something is wrong. We lost the game in overtime and I could tell it really pissed him off. We talked about that free throw maybe two days later.”
Fast forward to Saturday night.
Booker, who already had scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half, was ready for the moment. With the score tied in the final seconds, he wanted the ball. Watson said the entire arena knew where the Suns were going and it didn’t matter.
“Now that he wants every big shot speaks volumes,” Watson said.
It does, however, present a minor issue. Watson knows that Booker wants the ball in clutch moments. He also knows Eric Bledsoe wants it just as much. On Nov. 2, the Phoenix point guard dropped a 3 at the buzzer to beat Portland in overtime. More recently, he twice scored in the final seconds of the Suns’ home win over Boston, production that helped set up Tyler Ulis’ game winner.
“It shows the identity of our backcourt,” Watson said. “Those guys are comfortable taking big shots. It’s a great problem to have as a coach because you go into that huddle and if two guys are going, they both want that shot. And sometimes that’s the most difficult decision. There’s been times when we went to Bled because Bled has been rolling and Book is just looking at me like, ‘I want it.’ Bled will say something before he’ll let me draw up a play. He’ll say ‘high pick-and-roll,’ so I know that means he wants the shot. And then in New York the play was for Bled and he kicks it to Booker for the shot, so sometimes it just happens organically.”
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-Watson was impressed with Derrick Jones Jr.’s first career start. With center Alex Len unavailable because of a hip issue, Watson went small Saturday against the Mavericks, inserting Jones into the lineup. “Phenomenal defensively,” Watson said. “Picking up full court, I thought he did a great job on (Dallas point guard) Yogi Ferrell, but at the same time his rebounding – seven rebounds – was big. We’ve all seen players who come into the game and pick up full court, but to start a game that way gives us momentum.”
-Len missed his second consecutive contest with a right hip contusion. The Suns also were without veteran center Tyson Chandler, who was not with the team for personal reasons. In addition, Bledsoe continues to play with a hyperextended left knee. “There’s a little pain,” Bledsoe said, “but when I’m on the court I can’t make no excuses.”