Devin Booker recorded a triple-double with 40 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns withstood a late flurry to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1, 120-114. Booker stepped in Chris Paul’s absence with a complete performance. Paul George led the Clippers with 34 points.
The Suns covered the spread at -4.5. The over hit at 221.5.
Booker and George got going early and often in the first half, scoring 11 and 17 points respectively. Deandre Ayton added 14 points for Phoenix in the opening half. The Clippers hit eight triples in the first half and also got 11 points off the bench from DeMarcus Cousins to only trail by three at the break.
George and Reggie Jackson each hit two three-pointers as part of a 14-2 run in the third quarter to give the Clippers a 84-78 lead but Booker took over shortly after. He scored 12 straight for Phoenix to level the game at 90-90.
The teams kept trading punches for the rest of the way until a 10-0 Phoenix run gave the Suns a 105-95 lead. Los Angeles kept things tight with threes from Rajon Rondo and Terance Mann to cut the score to 116-114, but Booker iced the contest with a dunk and free throws.
The Clippers will be encouraged with their performance despite missing Kawhi Leonard, who continues to be sidelined with a knee injury. It is unlikely he will play in this series, but Los Angeles hasn’t ruled him out for the rest of the season yet.
Paul remains in isolation due to NBA protocols, but could return for Game 2. The Suns looked great without him, but will certainly welcome the veteran point guard back.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Phoenix at 9:00 p.m. ET.