Suns scratch Booker in New Orleans with hamstring tightness

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) goes up to dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

NEW ORLEANS – The Phoenix Suns scratched guard and leading scorer Devin Booker from Sunday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Booker played 36 minutes during Friday night's 128-117 loss in New Orleans, scoring 14 points, or about half of his per-game average of 27.4 points this season.

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Normally an elite perimeter shooter, Booker was 2 of 8 from 3-point range in the loss.

"I didn't see the normal ‘Book’ look,” Suns coach Monty Williams said before tipoff Sunday. "As an organization, it's just best to make sure he's good.

“He wants to play as Book would,” Williams added. “We're just trying to be as smart as we can.”

Williams said Dario Saric, who played just 46 seconds and did not score on Friday night, would start in place of Booker.

“We'll try to do our best as far as managing rotations and things of that nature, but we've done this all year. So, it's nothing new for us," Williams said. "It's just another first-team All-NBA guy not playing. So, that's part of the NBA season. New Orleans is doing the same thing. So, you just have to manage it.”

The Pelicans are playing a seventh straight game without star wing player Brandon Ingram, who is averaging 20.8 points per game, second on New Orleans' roster behind Zion Williamson. He is recovering from a left foot injury.

New Orleans also will be without starter Herb Jones, regarded as the club's top defender, because of left ankle soreness. Jones is missing his fifth straight game.


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