A Sun Flares Up A Mav


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Jenielle Sephia Bongo, OwlFeed Sports Reporter

Tension once again arose between two of the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks star players: Devin Booker and Luka Doncic. On Sunday, March 5th, ill feelings between these two NBA players became apparent as both got into each other’s faces in the final seconds of the Suns vs Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center. What prompted this to happen?

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The rivalry between the Suns’ guard and the Mavericks’ point guard isn’t as surprising since it dates back to last year’s season. During the 2022 NBA playoffs, Booker and Doncic went head to head on their second-round series, in hopes to get their respective teams to move on to the next round. Ultimately, the Mavericks defeated the Suns, leaving them devastated as they lost the chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals, unable to compete in the championships once again. Since then, a lot has changed within the teams considering the significant trades that have been recently made. Despite this, “the bad blood [between Booker and Doncic] is still there,” said Tim Hardaway Jr.

Fast forward to their most recent game, Booker and Doncic had a heated confrontation nearing the end of the game. The Suns were in the lead 128-126 with six seconds left on the clock. In the extreme pressuring atmosphere, Mavericks’ Doncic had possession of the ball, hoping to make a layup in order to put the game into a stalemate. This attempt, however, was fruitless as the ball rimmed out and Kevin Durant took the rebound, forcing a foul for free throws to rub salt into the Mavs’ wounds. Right as Doncic missed the shot, he responded to Booker’s remark, which was unclear to the cameras’ recordings, by yelling out “Shut the —- up!” as both players then got closer and closer to one another. The two exchanged even more words during their intense altercation, all the while their teammates tried to break them apart from each other. Soon after the referee review, both players were hit with technical fouls. Durant was then successful in hitting two free throws as the cherry on top, closing the game with the Suns’ victory 130-126.

Booker ended the game with 36 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds, and Doncic with 34 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds.

In a press conference after the game, Booker was asked about the situation that happened prior to the interview. He commented, “You guys said you don’t want everybody to be friendly. There you go. We got some smoke.” But despite this, Booker also went on and said, “It’s just two competitors going at it. Like I said, everybody speaks to how friendly the NBA is right now. I have no problem with Luka on or off the court, but when we’re competing, we’re competing.”

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Doncic, likewise, stated how it is just a competitive game. However, he clapped back by saying, “Next time, just don’t wait until there are three seconds left to talk.” Doncic did not further disclose any details of the situation as he himself, including Booker, might get fined.

As fiery as the beef between the two star players may be, Doncic emphasized his respect for the Suns. “I mean, they’re incredible. Those two guys are one of the best in the league, Book and KD. But I love it,” he said. “I think today was a great game to watch.” The results of this game may lead fans to question whether Doncic’s thigh issue had a more serious impact than they had originally thought. Rest assured, Doncic stated, “I just missed it.”

Based on the players’ responses, will this be the end of the Booker-Doncic rivalry? Or maybe the acrimony between the two will continue to grow throughout their careers? Only time will tell.