Phoenix Suns All Star guard Chris Paul claims he has all the confidence in Devin Booker to hit a game-winner in crunch time. On Monday night, Booker hit a game-winning three with 1.5 seconds left to play as the Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks on the road 109-108.
"All the confidence in the world," said Paul -- who had 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists -- when asked how he felt when Booker caught the pass. "When I spun and knew Book was coming there, I could see him.
His eyes were huge. He knew he wanted the ball -- big-time shot." After hitting the game-winner, Booker claimed he is not backing down from having the ball in his hands when it matters most. "I look forward to them when the opportunity presents itself," said Booker, who finished with 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting in his return after missing the previous four games with a left hamstring strain.
"That's why we work so hard. That's why we train so hard. I use my imagination in my workouts to put myself in those situations."
The Mavericks gambled and Booker made them pay
"We didn't [take the foul], and so that's my responsibility," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
"There's not going to be any finger-pointing. It's going to fall right in my lap. We're just learning the hard way that attention to the smallest details is of the utmost importance. It's hard to imagine being more disappointed after a game.
"It's a really bad mistake. It's just so unfortunate, because the game was there." Booker played 31 minutes, a little bit more than the Suns planned in his return game from the hamstring injury. "I imagine if I would have taken Book out in the fourth; that would have been the first time you saw a player knock a coach out on the sideline," Suns coach Monty Williams said.
"So I just thought I'd stay away from that scenario and let him play, as long as he was looking good." Paul, one of the most experiences players in the NBA, still lives for moments like this. "I was telling the guys in the locker room that I don't know if I can ever retire because the emotional roller coaster that you go on during a game -- like for real, for real -- there's no high like that," Paul said.
"The energy when you're pissed and mad, and then the joy when you win the game. It's really nice to get a win like this with this group of guys that we've got."