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Devin Booker
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Basketball Daily Dose

Dose: Devin Booker Goes Down

by Raphielle Johnson

Wednesday was a busy night in the NBA, with 12 games on the schedule including Houston’s trip to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers. And there was some significant injury news for players whose fantasy leagues run in concert with the NBA regular season, as Phoenix’s Devin Booker suffered a sprained left ankle during the first quarter of the Suns’ loss to Utah. Booker, who needed to be helped off the court, has been one of the few bright spots for a team that has struggled for much of the season. Over the last month, he’s been a top-15 player in nine-category leagues and a top-five player in eight-category leagues. More will be learned about the severity of his injury, and how much time he stands to miss, on Thursday as he’s due to undergo an MRI. 

Below is a look at each of Wednesday’s games, followed by a quick look at the injuries that have been listed for Thursday’s three-game slate. 

Pacers 108, Pistons 89 

Neither Wesley Matthews (hamstring) nor Darren Collison (groin) were available, but it didn’t matter as the Pacers rolled over the Pistons in Detroit. Cory Joseph and Tyreke Evans made up the starting backcourt, with Joseph playing 34 minutes and posting a stat line of six points, 12 assists, six rebounds, one steal and three turnovers. As for Evans, he also scored six points with four rebounds one assist, one steal and one blocked shot in 28 minutes. Joseph and Evans combined to shoot 3-of-21 from the field, with the latter making just one of his 13 attempts.

The front court, playing against a team that was without Blake Griffin (knee), had no such issues with Thaddeus Young (21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two 3-pointers) leading the way. Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner scored 17 apiece, with Domantas Sabonis (15 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and one steal) and Doug McDermott (14 points, two assists, two 3-pointers) reaching double figures off the bench. 

Andre Drummond (28 points, 19 rebounds three assists, three steals and three blocked shots) and Wayne Ellington (24 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and five 3-pointers) did what they could to carry Detroit, with Reggie Jackson adding 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and three 3-pointers. But the Pistons’ other two starters, Thon Maker and Bruce Brown, scored two and zero points, respectively, and Luke Kennard scored ten of the team’s 19 bench points.

With Griffin out of the lineup Detroit has leaned heavily on Drummond (43 minutes Wednesday), and Dwane Casey tended to go small rather than ask more of reserve big men Jon Leuer (nine minutes) and Zaza Pachulia (five minutes). Kennard, Ish Smith and Langston Galloway all played at least 22 minutes, with Smith and Galloway combining to shoot 2-of-18 from the field. 

Magic 114, Knicks 100 

Nikola Vucevic did what an All-Star should do in matchups like this, controlling the action in the paint, as he tallied 29 points (11-of-21 FGs, 6-of-8 FTs), 13 rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and one three-pointer in 33 minutes. Vooch was one of four double-digit scorers for the home team, with Terrence Ross knocking down five 3-pointers as part of a 23-point, five-assist, four rebound night, and starters Aaron Gordon (seven rebounds, six assists, one steal, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers) and Evan Fournier (four rebounds, one assist, one steal, one blocked shot and one three-pointer) added 19 points apiece.

Jonathan Isaac was the only starter who didn’t play at least 30 minutes, but in his 26 minutes he grabbed nine boards and blocked two shots to make up for a 3-of-16 night shooting the basketball. Khem Birch (seven points, five rebounds and one blocked shot) played 15 minutes and Michael Carter-Williams (four points, six rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and one steal) 24 off the bench. 

With DeAndre Jordan (rest) once again receiving a DNP-CD, Mitchell Robinson played 34 minutes (12 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots) and Luke Kornet (six points, three rebounds, one blocked shot) 14. Lance Thomas also played 14 minutes and Henry Ellenson six to give New York some depth behind starting forwards Mario Hezonja and Kevin Knox. Playing against his former team, Hezonja had his best game of the season as he shot 11-of-22 from the field and finished the night with 29 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and one three-pointer.

Knox shot the ball well, making seven of his 13 field goal attempts and scoring 21 points. The rookie also tallied four rebounds, two steals, one assist, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers in his 34 minutes on the floor. Recently signed guard Billy Garrett Jr. played 12 minutes in his Knicks debut, shooting 2-of-6 and accounting for four points and two assists. 

Bulls 115, Wizards 114

Five days after he signed his contract, Bulls guard Walt Lemon Jr. had the best game of his NBA career Wednesday night in the nation’s capital. Not only did Lemon’s two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining give Chicago the win, but he also scored a career-high 24 points to go along with eight assists, three rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes. In total Chicago had seven double-digit scorers, including JaKarr Sampson (18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two 3-pointers) and Shaquille Harrison (15 points, four rebounds, two blocks, two steals, one assist and one three-pointer). Robin Lopez added 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks, with Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Ryan Arcidiacono and Rawle Alkins scoring 11 apiece. Alkins, making his sixth appearance for the team, established a new career-high in points while matching his career-high with three assists (he also grabbed five rebounds). 

Predicting which of the Bulls’ young players will have a big night is a crap shoot, but they’ll all have their opportunities given how banged-up this team is. And for some reason Arcidiacono, who hasn’t been listed on an injury report, has played 19 minutes or fewer in five of the last six games. 

Bradley Beal, who shot down the idea of him missing a game between now and the end of the season, played Wednesday night but saw just 22 minutes of action. The All-Star guard shot 9-of-18 from the field, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots, one steal and one three-pointer. Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis both posted 20-point double-doubles, with the former tallying 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots and the latter adding ten rebounds, two steals, two blocks, one assist and one three-pointer to his point total. Reserves Jordan McRae (14 points, five assists, three steals and one blocked shot), Sam Dekker (14 points, two rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer) and Chasson Randle (11 points, three assists, two rebounds and one blocked shot) all reached double figures. 

Jabari Parker played just 12 minutes, leaving the game in the second quarter with a strained left knee. Jeff Green (rest) has missed the last three games, with Scott Brooks giving his younger front court players more minutes as the regular season winds down. 

Hawks 130, 76ers 122 

Trae Young led the Hawks past Philadelphia with a stat line of 33 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, one steal, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 33 minutes, and in total Atlanta had seven double-digit scorers. John Collins made ten of his 18 shot attempts, scoring 25 points with eight rebounds, two blocks, one assist, one steal and one three-pointer, with DeAndre Bembry adding 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, one steal and one three-pointer off the bench. Kevin Huerter (15 points, five assists, four rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers), Taurean Prince (13/3/2/1 with two 3-pointers), Alex Len (11 points, three rebounds, one blocked shot and two 3-pointers), and Justin Anderson (ten points, three rebounds, two blocks and two 3-pointers) were the other double-digit scorers. 

JJ Redick shot 6-of-13 from three, scoring 30 points with three assists and two steals to lead five 76er starters in double figures. Tobias Harris scored 21 with seven rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers, with Jimmy Butler (16/7/2/1 with one three-pointer), Ben Simmons (15/15/8/4/1) and Jonah Bolden (13/10/3/2/1) also hitting double digits. But offense, even with Joel Embiid out of the lineup, was not the issue for Philadelphia Wednesday night. The 76ers return home to take on Milwaukee Thursday night, and no determination has been made regarding Embiid’s status for that matchup. 

Raptors 115, Nets 105

Three Raptors scored at least 23 points in Brooklyn, and Pascal Siakam (28/10/5 with three 3-pointers) led the way as he continues to make a run at the league’s Most Improved Player award. Kawhi Leonard, who scored 15 points in Monday’s win over Orlando, bounced back with a 26-point, nine-rebound, three assist effort on 11-of-25 shooting. Serge Ibaka rounded out the 23-plus point trio with 23 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal and five 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. Ibaka made all five of his three-point attempts, and since going 0-of-2 in a March 28 win over the Knicks he’s 8-of-11 from beyond the arc. Kyle Lowry added ten points, five rebounds and four assists, and Marc Gasol posted a line of eight points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals with two 3-pointers.

OG Anunoby (concussion) remains out, and Jeremy Lin, Jodie Meeks and Norman Powell all played between 11 and 12 minutes off the bench. 

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 27 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal and five 3-pointers, but no other player scored more than 14 points (Spencer Dinwiddie) in the loss. Dinwiddie also accounted for five assists and four rebounds, but he shot just 6-of-16 from the field and missed all six of this three-point attempts. Jarrett Allen (nine rebounds and one blocked shot) and DeMarre Carroll (five rebounds, one assist and one three-pointer) scored 12 points apiece and Rodions Kurucs (four rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and one three-pointer) 11, with Joe Harris shooting 1-of-5 from three on his way to a line of nine points, seven rebounds and two assists. Allen Crabbe (knee) missed his ninth straight game due to injury. 

Celtics 112, Heat 102

Josh Richardson was one of three Heat players to make their return to the lineup Wednesday, with Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow being the others. But Richardson’s night came to a premature end, as he was injured again (left leg) while attempting to block a Kyrie Irving layup attempt. Richardson started and played 16 minutes, putting up a line of seven points, two assists, two steals and one rebound. McGruder and Winslow both came off the bench, with McGruder playing ten minutes and Winslow (four points, three assists and one rebound) 23. Goran Dragic remained in the starting lineup but he struggled, shooting 3-of-15 and scoring 11 points, with five assists, one rebound, one steal and one three-pointer.

Dion Waiters (21/3/5/1 with five 3-pointers) played 42 minutes, with Hassan Whiteside (18 & 15 with one block) and Dwyane Wade (17/7/6 with two 3-pointers) having productive nights off the bench. 

Gordon Hayward has now scored 20 points or more in five games this season, as he paced the Celtics with 25 (5-of-10 FGs, 12-of-13 FTs) along with eight rebounds, five assists and three 3-pointers. Kyrie Irving (23/1/4/1 with three 3-pointers) and Al Horford (21/8/4/1/1 with one three-pointer) also surpassed the 20-point mark for Boston, which was without Marcus Morris (knee) and Jaylen Brown (back). The absence of those two opened up more minutes for Hayward, who played 32 Wednesday night, and even Brad Wanamaker played 13 minutes (two points, one rebound and one assist). 

Hornets 115, Pelicans 109

To the surprise of no one, Anthony Davis (back) missed another game as the Pelicans fell to Kemba Walker and the Hornets in New Orleans. Walker made 12 of his 13 free throw attempts, finishing with a game-high 32 points with seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Frank Kaminsky gave Charlotte some good minutes off the bench, scoring 21 with six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one blocked shot with three 3-pointers in 28 minutes. He was one of three Hornets reserves to reach double figures, with Devonte Graham (13 points, five assists, two rebounds, one steal and three 3-pointers) and Jeremy Lamb (12/2/2/3) being the others. Marvin Williams, who strained his foot in Monday’s loss to the Jazz, did not play and Tony Parker (personal) also remains out. 

Julius Randle was one of the few bright spots for New Orleans, as he racked up 34 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals, one blocked shot and three 3-pointers in 34 minutes. The slashing forward was one of three double-digit scorers for the Pelicans, with Ian Clark (six rebounds, three assists, one steal and three 3-pointers) and Stanley Johnson (two assists, one rebound, one steal and two 3-pointers) scoring 17 points apiece. In addition to Davis, Darius Miller (adductor) and Frank Jackson (concussion) remain out of the lineup. With Davis out, Jahlil Okafor (eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots) and Christian Wood (eight points, nine rebounds, three assists) played 23 and 21 minutes, respectively, with Wood also accounting for a team-worst six turnovers. 

Timberwolves 110, Mavericks 108

Dallas had a chance to pick up the win, but Jaylen Brown’s three-pointer as time expired missed the mark. Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell led the way offensively for the Mavericks, as they scored 27 and 25 points, respectively. Doncic shot 11-of-21 form the field, and in addition to the point total he was responsible for 12 rebounds, six assists, one steal and two 3-pointers. Powell grabbed eight rebounds with two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in addition to his point total.

Dorian Finney-Smith (mouth laceration) didn’t play, and Dirk Nowitzki (nine points, four rebounds, two assists and one three-pointer in 22 minutes) returned to the starting lineup after missing Monday’s win over Philadelphia. Courtney Lee, who started Monday night, played 16 minutes off the bench and accounted for three rebounds and one assist while failing to score. 

As has been the case on multiple occasions this season, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way offensively for Minnesota. The 7-footer shot 12-of-15 from the field, scoring 28 points with 13 rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and just one turnover. Towns, who scored 17 points in Monday’s loss to Portland, has scored 20 points or more in three of his last five games and led four starters in double figures Wednesday. Andrew Wiggins scored 19 with seven assists, three rebounds, two steals and one three-pointer, with Dario Saric adding 14 with five rebounds, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers and Tyus Jones 15 with six assists, one rebound and three 3-pointers.

Taj Gibson missed another game due to his calf injury and his absence continues to mean more opportunities to produce for Keita Bates-Diop. The rookie forward played 20 minutes Wednesday, accounting for five points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist while on the court. 

Raphielle Johnson
Raphielle has been writing about college sports for more than a decade for multiple outlets, including NBC Sports. Focuses have included game recaps, columns, features and recruiting stories. A native of the Northeast, he now calls Pac-12 country home. Raphielle can be followed on Twitter @raphiellej.