Devin Booker put on a show Sunday, and the Phoenix Suns are now three games away from the NBA Finals.
Despite being without Chris Paul, the Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Both teams were short-handed, as L.A. was also missing Kawhi Leonard. But the quality of play didn't suffer in a back-and-forth showdown in front of a frenzied Phoenix crowd.
The status of both Paul and Leonard is up in the air. Paul needs to clear the COVID-19 protocols before he's eligible to return, while Leonard didn't make the trip to Phoenix with the team but hasn't yet been ruled out for Game 2.
Even without their floor general, the Suns handled their business Sunday in yet another classic game in what has already been a wild postseason.
Devin Booker, PHX: 40 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists
Deandre Ayton, PHX: 20 points, nine rebounds
Cameron Payne, PHX: 11 points, nine assists
Paul George, LAC: 34 points, five assists
Reggie Jackson, LAC: 24 points, six rebounds
DeMarcus Cousins, LAC: 11 points
The Moment Isn't Too Big for Booker
Booker had a bit of a slow start to this game, at least by his own standards, with 11 first-half points.
And then he exploded.
Booker was electric in the third quarter, scoring 18 points as he and George went tit for tat (George had 15 in the quarter). As the home crowd roared, Booker continued to carve up the Clippers' pick-and-roll drop coverage.
He's waited six years to reach the postseason and sure is making the most of his opportunity. There can be no doubt now—Booker is a superstar.
You Down With Playoff P?
Nobody is dragging PG-13 these days.
George was roundly roasted for his struggles in the bubble playoffs last season, as the Clippers bowed out in the Western Conference Semifinals. But in the past three games without Leonard available, he's been the absolute man.
Here's a reminder of how he closed out the Utah Jazz:
- Game 5 vs. Utah: 37 points, 16 boards in a win.
- Game 6 vs. Utah: 28 points, nine rebounds, seven assists in a win.
George may not have gotten the win Sunday, but he gave the Clippers everything he had. He's been fantastic this postseason.
Game 2 is in Phoenix on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN).