NBA playoffs

Devin Booker erupts for 47 as Suns dethrone Lakers

Devin Booker erupts for 47 as Suns dethrone Lakers

CRUCIAL. Lakers star LeBron James battles for the ball with Suns forwards Torrey Craig (left) and Mikal Bridges in Game 6.

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Suns eliminate the defending champion Lakers as LeBron James loses a first-round playoff series for the first time in his career

Devin Booker exploded for 47 points as the visiting Phoenix Suns eliminated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers from the playoffs with a 113-100 victory in Game 6 of a Western Conference first-round series Thursday, June 3 (Friday, June 4, Manila time). 

In their first visit to the playoffs since 2010, the No. 2-seeded Suns moved on to face the No. 3-seed Denver Nuggets.

Booker made a career-best eight three-pointers on 10 attempts and secured 11 rebounds. Jae Crowder added 18 points for Phoenix, and Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson scored 10 each as the Suns won the final three games of the series, two of which were in Los Angeles.

LeBron James scored 29 points for the No. 7 seed Lakers, but tag-team partner Anthony Davis lasted just 5 minutes and 25 seconds while trying to play through a left groin strain that kept him out of Game 5.

James lost a first-round playoff series for the first time in his career.

It was a series defined by injuries as the Lakers also saw guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope slowed with a left knee contusion and James playing after a high ankle sprain wiped out 26 of 28 games late in the season.

Suns guard Chris Paul played the series after he injured his right shoulder in Game 1. He tallied 8 points and 12 assists in Game 6. Paul averaged 9.2 points in the series after scoring 16.4 points in the regular season. Booker scored 29.7 per game in the series.

The Suns took control early, leading 21-10 after seven minutes on a three-pointer by Booker. Davis was out of the game by then, removed with 6:35 left in the first period after aggravating his injury while trying to stay with Booker defensively.

Phoenix pushed the advantage to 36-14 by the end of the first quarter after Booker scored 22 points, was 8-of-9 from the field, and 6-of-6 from three-point range. The Suns shot 68.4% in the opening 12 minutes.

Phoenix led by as many as 29 in the second quarter and 62-41 at halftime before the Lakers cut the deficit to 89-76 by the end of the third.

The Lakers cut the deficit to 10 points, 94-84, with 8:06 to play but could not get any closer. Dennis Schroder scored 20 points and Caldwell-Pope 19 for the Lakers.

Crowder was ejected late in the game after a confrontation near the Lakers’ bench. –