The Western Conference semifinals series between the Suns and the Mavericks may just be stoking the flames of one of the best young rivalries in the NBA between All-Stars Devin Booker and Luka Dončić.
The two players added another series of back-and-forth barbs to their budding rivalry during Tuesday’s Game 5.
In the middle of the Suns’ 110–80 rout of the Mavs, Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith fouled Booker hard in the third quarter as the Phoenix guard was driving to the hoop. The All-Star stayed down on the ground for quite a while, leading many to wonder if he was actually hurt or just exaggerating the contact for the officials.
It quickly proved to be the latter, as a fan sitting courtside captured video of Booker eventually laughing, saying his actions after the foul were the “Luka Special.”
Booker’s Dončić impersonation may have paid off as officials gave Finney-Smith a flagrant-one foul for the contact.
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Whether Dončić caught wind of Booker’s jab or not, the Mavs star was unsurprisingly frustrated after the Game 5 loss. As he walked to the locker room with his teammates, he sent a pointed message back to the Suns, saying “everybody acts tough when they’re up.”
Phoenix was up big for most of the second half on Tuesday after outscoring Dallas 31–14 in the third quarter of Game 5. Booker scored 28 points and the Suns never looked back on their way to taking a 3–2 advantage in the series.
The Mavericks will now head back to Dallas for Game 6, where they’ve won both of the previous games against the Suns. Dončić will need to out-duel Booker on Thursday if wants to keep his hopes of a conference finals berth afloat.
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