The Rundown: Booker's late FTs help Suns escape Blazers

Published May 14, 2021, 1:50 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Devin Booker made two crucial free throws in the closing seconds to help the Suns eke past the Blazers on Friday (PHT).


Clippers 113, Hornets 90
Bucks 142, Pacers 133
Knicks 102, Spurs 98
Hawks 116, Magic 93
Heat 106, Sixers, 94
Grizzlies 116, Kings 110
Bulls 114, Raptors 102
Nuggets 114, Timberwolves 103
Suns 118, Trail Blazers 117

What went down

This is what happens when two of the hottest teams in the West face off in a game with playoff spot implications.

The Portland Trail Blazers needed the win against the Phoenix Suns to lock in the sixth seed and avoid the play-in tournament. They played exactly like a team that knew that.

Damian Lillard again set the clock to Dame Time, dropping 24 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter to keep it close. But the closing minute of the tight game came down to a free throw shooting contest.

A couple of missed freebies from Dario Saric plus a Devin Booker turnover in the final minute almost did it for the Suns. The Blazers were up one with only seconds left in the game when Robert Covington, with a chance to give his team some breathing space, clanked a pair of free throws.

This opened the door for Booker to draw a foul and step to the line with less than a second left. Booker wouldn’t miss.

The Suns escaped with a 118-117 win, making life even harder for the Blazers.

The Portland loss gave the Lakers a shot at the guaranteed playoff spot. If Portland loses its final game of the season to Denver, and the Lakers win their final games against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Indiana Pacers, Portland will have to go through the play-in tournament. 

If that sounds exhausting, imagine how tiring it was for Dame and CJ (27 points) battling a backcourt of Booker and Chris Paul (26 points) at the end of a close game.

Big-time baller

Giannis Antetokounmpo, in the most Giannis way, showed why the Milwaukee Bucks are the league leaders in scoring.

Giannis contributed 40 big points to the Bucks’ 142-133 win against the Indiana Pacers, adding 15 points and six assists.

The efficiency (14-of-18 FGs) was both MVP-level and historic. The 40-point, 15-rebound, and 75-percent FG game was done only once before by a Buck, and it was by the legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Giannis also became the first player to drop 40 points on 75 percent shooting, grab 15 rebounds, and dish out five assists since Charles Barkley in 1988.

What he said

The Miami Heat-Philadelphia 76ers matchup had a couple of unexpected twists: a Udonis Haslem sighting that lasted about three minutes, a perfect 2-of-2, and a dust-up with Dwight Howard.

UD was ejected, and made history as the oldest NBA player in the last 20 seasons to get tossed.

Jimmy Butler had some thoughts after the Heat got the W:

"Don’t put OG in the game because he's looking to fight." 

Did you see that?

Karl-Anthony Towns flexing his PG skills: