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Devin Booker has a mild hamstring strain, and in the immediate term that could mean tough sledding for the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns announced Booker’s injury diagnosis on Wednesday. While they did not specify a timetable for his return, Adrian Wojnarowski reports that it is “unlikely” he will play in Games 3 and 4 in New Orleans.
The injury has the potential to swing the entirety of the NBA playoffs — even if Booker is able to play, there is the possibility that hamstring issues linger and he is less effective.
When the playoffs began, the Suns were the odds-on favorite to win the NBA championship, at 2-to-1. The next highest contender were the Bucks, at 4/1.
Currently, the Suns are still the championship favorites, but their odds have fallen to 3.5-to-1. The Warriors, who have cruised to two wins over the Nuggets so far, have gone from 6/1 to co-favorites at 3.5/1 since the postseason began.
The eighth-seeded Pelicans rallied past the Suns in the second half for a 125-114 victory after Booker went down on Tuesday night. The guard had torched New Orleans for 31 first-half points.
The Suns, who reached last year’s NBA Finals before falling to the Bucks in six games, had far and away the best record in the league this season. At 64-18, Phoenix had eight more wins than the second-best team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Booker averaged 26.8 points per game in the regular season and was on the fringe for NBA MVP consideration, behind Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Suns and Pelicans are currently tied at one game apiece in their first round, best-of-seven series.