Devin Booker's 40-Point Triple-Double Leads Suns Past Paul George, Clippers in Game 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 20, 2021

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 20: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers drives to the basket during the game against the Phoenix Suns 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 (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

ESPN @espn

IT'S LOUD IN PHOENIX 🔊 pic.twitter.com/YJ5jbGj2Yi


Paul George sheesh 🥶 pic.twitter.com/3QwOoqQvLJ

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

Devin Booker and Paul George getting hot at the same time, man this is beautiful basketball we're watching

Zach Harper @talkhoops

Just have Booker and PG play one on one to settle this

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.

Key Stats

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 (29 PTS) stops on a dime, rises up and shoots over the defense!@LAClippers 93@Suns 93<br><br>We're headed to the 4th quarter on ABC. #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/F1QwnxqRzY

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.

Kevin O'Connor @KevinOConnorNBA

Devin Booker is having a complete performance. In total control, getting to his spots to score or draw the defense and make plays for others. All in his first NBA playoff appearance. This is only the beginning for Book and the Suns.

Sean Highkin @highkin

The worst thing that ever happened to Devin Booker's career was that 70-point game that was a complete joke with his teammates fouling to get him the ball back in a blowout loss. Took him until the bubble to shed the "empty calories" rep. Awesome to see him doing this in WCF.

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe

I’ve seen breakaway layups look harder than Booker is making these shots look

Josh Weinfuss @joshweinfuss

Devin Booker’s control of the ball - how he handles it when he dribbled and shoots - makes me think the ball feels like a beach ball to him and the hoops looks like the ocean.

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.


Paul George steps back, connects from 3-point land and leads all scorers with 12 PTS!@LAClippers 21@Suns 18#NBAPlayoffs on ABC pic.twitter.com/0jkGUs0Rle

Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano

the paul george redemption tour is awesome

Logan Murdock @loganmmurdock

Paul George gonna make us all apologize huh

ESPN Stats &amp; Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Paul George is the 4th player over the last 10 seasons to score 20 points in each of his team's first 14 games of a postseason, joining Kevin Durant, James Harden and LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/SNUSz7MX7k

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.

What's Next?

Game 2 is in Phoenix on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN).


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