Devin Booker recorded 34 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 99-90 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers in the opening game of their Western Conference first-round series on Sunday, May 23 (Monday, May 24, Manila time).
Deandre Ayton added 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting and collected 16 rebounds for the No. 2 seed Suns, who were playing in their first postseason game since 2010.
LeBron James had 18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds for the No. 7 seed Lakers.
Suns star Chris Paul played 36 minutes and had 7 points and 8 assists. Paul injured his right shoulder in the second quarter when teammate Cameron Johnson clipped his arm. Paul missed parts of the second and third quarters.
Dennis Schroder scored 14 points for Los Angeles. Anthony Davis had 13 on just 5-of-16 shooting and Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell added 12 apiece for the Lakers.
The Suns shot 46.5% from the field, including 9-of-28 from three-point range.
Los Angeles made 43.4% of its shots and were 7-of-26 from behind the arc.
The Lakers trailed by 13 with 3:23 to play before Alex Caruso made a three-pointer 18 seconds later. But there would be no frantic comeback bid as Davis and Caruso missed three-pointers on the next two Los Angeles possessions before the Suns’ Jae Crowder hit a short jumper with 1:35 left as the Suns closed it out.
Booker scored 17 first-half points to help Phoenix hold a 53-45 lead.
The Suns led despite not attempting a single free throw while Los Angeles was 11-of-17 from the line.
Overall, the Lakers hit 17 of 28 free throws, while Phoenix was 10 of 12.
Phoenix was leading 38-29 when Paul initially sustained his injury and left with 9:19 left in the half. He returned with 5:32 remaining and the Suns again leading by 9 points.
Phoenix increased its lead to 71-56 on a putback by Mikal Bridges with 6:04 left in the third quarter. Just 59 seconds later, Paul again left the court to have the shoulder worked on and the Lakers took advantage and cut their deficit to 7 points.
By the time Paul returned with 1:17 left, the Suns were leading by 13 and Booker added two free throws with 11.1 seconds to play as the Suns took an 81-68 advantage into the final stanza.
A Booker three-pointer gave Phoenix an 86-70 lead with 11:04 remaining before Los Angeles scored the next 7 points, but the defending champions were unable to mount a full charge. – Rappler.com