PHOENIX – On his way home from a plane crash after losing explosively to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals, Suns star Devin Booker joined a card game with teammates Chris Paul and Jae Crowder and discussed the last match 7.
Paul has played in seven previous 7 games, going 3-4 overall, but losing the last three. Crowder was in two, splitting them, with a first-round defeat in 2014, when he played for the Mavericks and a second-round victory in 2017 as a member of the Boston Celtics.
For Booker, 25, Sunday will be his first. It’s an opportunity they enjoy.
“I like to come here with everyone locked up, from top to bottom from the front desk, looking out the windows – you can feel their behavior,” Booker said after Saturday’s training at the Verizon 5G Performance Center. “That’s why we do this sport. I thought we had something to go on there [in terms of pressure] during the regular season, trying to break the franchise record, and this is a completely different beast. “
So far, the series has looked drastically different depending on the location. In the Suns’ three home games at the Footprint Center, they went 3-0, winning by an average of 19 points. However, in the three road matches at the American Airlines Center, they went 0-3, losing by an average of 15.3 points.
Setting the franchise record for victories, with a score of 64-18 in the regular season, brought Phoenix the No. 1 seed in the postseason and the right to play any decisive game at home.
“If you look only at the history of the league, the advantage on home soil is a real word,” said Booker. “It’s always hard to win on the road. I think it’s just the comfort of playing  games here, rather than two on the road and just in front of our fans. I’m sure he’ll be upset there. It will be interesting, it will be a lot of energy. So I’m looking forward to it. “
Suns coach Monty Williams said his team used Saturday’s practice as a “clean-up” day to prepare for the key game. Two major points of emphasis: the care of the basketball and the guard of the 3-point line. In Phoenix’s three defeats in the series, the Suns averaged 18.7 business losses, contributing an average of 16.3 of 3 points for the Mavs in those games.
Like Booker, Williams could not hide his anticipation.
“You can feel it,” Williams said. “Ever since I knew we were going to be in a Game 7, the room is full of intensity. And that’s how basketball should be in the playoffs.”
Between training on Saturday and the beginning of Sunday, the Suns will have to find a way to pass the time without letting go of the pressure of a potential end-of-season match.
“I’m going to get my nails done right now. Pamper me a little. Get my feet wet,” Crowder said. “I am just trying to check my tapes. Just make sure where my body needs to be, analyze the game plan, the adjustments we make. Check those boxes. Watch the second half of the last game. And from that point on, I’ll be ready to go. “
Crowder added that he aired a more comical TV series, “Atlanta,” on Sunshine Free Day on Friday and that he will opt for the more serious drama “Ozark” on Saturday. Booker, meanwhile, said he would be “connected,” but he planned to play the video game Call of Duty and find other ways to relax.
“Today is a hot day, I might go into the pool,” he said.
It won’t be long before the Suns all throw themselves into the most important game of the season.
“It’s just a matter of understanding your season,” Booker said. “It simply came to our notice then. Hug him, accept him and I’m ready to perform. “