His 3-point percentage (44%) is even better than his free-throw percentage (38%) the last two years, though that says too much about his work from the line.
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Every Brandon Armstrong impersonation has put a smile on my face, this Dirk Nowitzki video no exception.
But the ending actually had me laughing aloud.
He’s back in the rotation, playing 21 minutes per game in Philadelphia’s last six games. The 76ers have even won four of their last five.
“At this moment in time, I’m definitely satisfied with where I’m at and the team’s rotation,” Noel said. “I think I’m able to go out there and still affect the game, change the game multiple ways.”
“At this moment in time” sounds like a warning to the 76ers: Noel appreciates them treating him well, but that doesn’t buy them leeway to downgrade his status later without upsetting him.
Meanwhile, Jahlil Okafor has fallen from the rotation. Though he’s saying the right things, he has acknowledge he’s not happy to be sitting.
This is an untenable situation.
Let’s combine trade rumors.
Teams will express interest in Dragic ahead of the trade deadline — a bunch, including the Magic, already did, per league sources — but Miami can hold out for a hefty return.
If the Heat are tanking, they have little use for Dragic, who’s on the wrong side of 30. Better to deal him now to a team that will get value from him while he’s still productive. It’s far from guaranteed he’ll still be helpful once Miami is ready to win again.
But why does Orlando want anything to do with him?
The Magic have fared better when starting offensive-minded D.J. Augustin and bringing Elfrid Payton off the bench. Dragic would be a talent upgrade in the Augustin role and fit well in the short term.
But Orlando is 16-24, 12th in the East and four games out of postseason position. The playoffs are a pipedream, and the Magic should focus on building for the future.
Trading for Dragic would reek of another desperate attempt to accelerate their rebuild, perhaps a last-ditch chance for general manager Rob Hennigan to save his job.
Hennigan’s history of making such moves gives reason to believe he’d actually deal for Dragic. But it also creates cover for Miami to leak Orlando interest (even if it’s not real) and drive up the asking price for Dragic. So, I’m a little skeptical about this report. But Magic fans should have trepidation, just in case.