Devin Booker refused to blame his broken nose for an ugly showing in the Phoenix Suns' Game 3 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The second-seeded Suns had stormed into a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals but saw that advantage cut in half with a 106-92 loss in LA on Thursday.
It was a tough outing for Booker, who was just five-for-21 shooting as he finished with 15 points in a team-high 40 minutes.
That disjointed display came in the wake of Booker having been subjected to some painful treatment to put his nose back in place, but he did not want to use that as an excuse.
"The nose feels fine," Booker, who wore a face mask during the game, said in quotes reported by ESPN. "We just lost the game."
Booker had to undergo a quick fix before the Suns flew in to LA from Phoenix and it was not a pleasurable experience for the shooting guard.
"That was probably the worst part," he said.
"It's a procedure that they usually say they put you under [anaesthesia] for, but we had a flight out a couple hours later, so they just numbed it up all over the place, it felt like.
"Like eight shots to numb it up and then they go in there and put it back, they break it again. They break it back in place."
Back at it Saturday. pic.twitter.com/YVQw6Lav3s— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 25, 2021
Despite the defeat, Booker is confident the Suns will put things right in the next game.
"The spirit is high," Booker said. "We move on to the next one. That's what type of team we are. We've been like that the whole season, so we'll stick with that.
"We'll come in tomorrow, go over film, regroup and get ready for Game 4."
Suns veteran Chris Paul returned from the league's health and safety protocol to post 15 points and 12 assists.
Paul became the 13th player in NBA history with 1,000 playoff assists.