In the battle of two Western Conference powers, both Luka Doncic and Devin Booker got heated up in a tight face-off.
The rivalry between the two of the league’s brightest stars reignited on Sunday. With the battle going down to one possession to determine an extension, Doncic failed to deliver. As Kevin Durant drained a crucial go-ahead bucket to hand the Suns an upper hand, the Slovenian superstar on his part missed a point-blank floater that could have tied the game.
From there, with Doncic filled with frustration and Booker arguing for an offensive foul to an official, things got chippy.
Per Doncic, the argument of Booker that he should have been called for charging violation against Josh Okogie is considerably fictitious.
“Based on the words, I don’t think so,” said Doncic, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “It’s fine. It’s just a competitive game.
“It’s all good. Just next time, don’t wait until there’s three seconds left to talk.”
For his part, Booker got no issue with the war of words he had with Doncic, as this defies the ongoing friendly culture in the NBA.
“You guys [in the media] always say you don’t want everyone to be ‘friendly-friendly’ so there you go, you got some smoke,” said Booker. “It’s just two competitors going at it. Everybody speaks on how friendly the NBA is now and they don’t like that.
“I have no problem with Luka [Dončić] on or off the court, but when we’re competing, we’re competing.”
Unfortunately, the Mavs and the Suns won’t meet again in this 2022-23 regular season, as the weekend bout served as the closer for both heavyweight teams.
But fans can certainly hope that Doncic and Booker will cross paths again for another playoff duel this year – a rematch of their dramatic encounter.