Luka Doncic, Devin Booker get into heated exchange at end of another Mavericks-Suns battle
Relations between Luka Doncic and Devin Booker escalated on Sunday afternoon in Dallas.
The two, just after Doncic missed what could have been game-critical with 3.1 seconds left at the American Airlines Center, suddenly made up and got into a brief on-court altercation.
Now the relationship between Doncic and Booker did not seem too strained. The two were smiling throughout the whole incident, but in the end both got technical fouls.
Doncic’s missed layup eventually saw the Mavericks lose 130–126 to the Phoenix Suns.
Booker downplayed the incident after the game, saying he spoke to the referee before he came face-to-face with Doncic.
“You guys are saying you don’t want everyone to be friendly,” Booker said via AZCentral’s Duane Rankin. “Well, we have some smoke… It’s just two competitors. Everyone is talking about how friendly the NBA is right now and they don’t like it. I don’t have a problem with Luca on or off the court, but when we compete, we compete.”
Booker ended the evening with 36 points and 10 assists. Only Kevin Durant, who was only in his third game for the Suns after being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, has scored more. He scored 37 points with seven rebounds and three assists.
Doncic led the Mavericks with 34 points and nine rebounds, but only 1-of-9 came from behind the arc. Kyrie Irving had 30 points and seven assists.
While the incident between Booker and Doncic isn’t a big deal, it does show how things have played out between the two clubs in recent months – something that seems to have started with the Mavericks’ poor playoff win last year to reach the Western Conference Finals. . . And, of course, the Suns won in the end. But throughout the journey, both teams fought hard. Neither team led by more than nine points, and Dallas led most of the second half until the very end.
As for the thrash talk between him and Booker, Doncic doesn’t mind it.
“Next time, don’t wait until there are 3 seconds left to talk,” he said. via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
The situation in the standings of the Western Conference, entering the final segment of the season, is extremely tense. Phoenix is ranked fourth in the West and Dallas is ranked seventh. But in the standings, the teams are separated by only three games.
It is unclear if these teams will meet again in the playoffs. However, if they do, expect another controversial streak in what has become one of the best new rivalries.