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Booker shines as Suns draw first blood against Clippers

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 20: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns yells during the game against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 20, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Gonzales / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball during the game against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 20, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.(AFP)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Devin Booker delivered a 40-point triple double as the Phoenix Suns shook off some playoff rust to beat the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers, 120-114, in the opening game of the Western Conference finals.

Booker also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple double as the Suns won on Sunday despite the absence of all-star guard Chris Paul, who has been placed in the NBA’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

“I’m just going out there to win every game possible” said Booker. ”I’ve been saying this since the start of the playoffs – every next game is the biggest game.”

Suns’ Jae Crowder said it was fitting that Booker stole the show in front of the crowd of 16,583 at Phoenix Suns Arena.

“I expect it. I know the type of player he is,” Crowder said.

Game two is scheduled for Tuesday night in Phoenix.

This is an unexpected NBA final four matchup between two franchises trying to cap their storybook seasons by winning their first NBA titles. The Clippers have never been to the Conference finals before and the Suns last made it in 2010. 

This was the Suns’ first game since last Sunday when they completed a four game sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the second round.

It is their ninth trip to the Conference finals as they seek their first title in the 53-year history.

Devin Booker

Deandre Ayton scored 20 points with nine rebounds while Mikal Bridges (14 points), Jae Crowder (13 points) and Cameron Johnson (12 points) scored in double digits for the Suns.

Both teams were missing star players Sunday as Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard suffered a knee injury in game four of the second round against the Jazz.

Leonard did not join the Clippers on the trip to Phoenix. Coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn’t sure of his availability.

The Clippers beat the Jazz in epic fashion, ending one of the league’s most infamous droughts by advancing to the conference finals for the first time in their 51-year history.

Paul George scored 34 points, Reggie Jackson had 24 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 11 points off the bench in the loss for the Clippers.

“I have no excuse,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit — they were making shots and we didn’t. But I loved our fight. I loved what I saw.”

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Written by Tempo Desk

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