Phoenix Suns stump the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers: 5 takeaways

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

In a stunning performance from Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns grab a 120-114 win to go up 1-0 in the Western Conference finals over the Los Angeles Clippers. Here are my five takeaways.

Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker came to play

Booker, dropping 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, joins elite company. According to Stathead, the only players to put up 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a playoff game in NBA history are Luka Doncic, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James, who accomplished these numbers twice.

It is not the numbers alone that stand out. The ability of Booker to take charge of the game is crucial. His constant slithering into mid-range jumpers puts pressure on the defense and today, Booker could not miss.

Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul being out due to health and safety protocols means Booker has to step up.

Not only did Booker pull off his usual prolific scoring abilities, but he also had a well-rounded game. Booker’s 11 assists complemented by two turnovers put his playmaking abilities on display. Making the right pass at the right time, Booker broke down the Clippers’ defense.

Phoenix Suns’ Cameron Payne steps in flawlessly.

An 11 point performance from Cameron Payne, which felt more like 20, somewhat made up for Paul’s absence. However, the nine assists with one turnover stand out. Payne’s relentlessness to get to the rim and his timely 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to put the Suns up six proves why Payne is essential for the Suns’ success.

Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton did it again.

Every game, Deandre Ayton does not fail to impress. Ayton’s physicality providing easy buckets saw him shooting 71.4 percent tonight. It seems effortless at this point for Ayton. I have been blown away by his contributions. With just one personal foul, another low fouling game for Ayton shows he is an intelligent defender.

The Phoenix Suns’ defense on Paul George is amazing.

Mikal Bridges has proved this postseason he is successful when given a tough task. On Sunday, Bridges slowed down George. Contributing to slowing down George were Bridges, Jae Crowder, Torrey Craig, Cameron Johnson and Booker. The Suns have a plethora of wing defenders to throw at each team. George ran into those wing defenders today and shot an abysmal 38.5 percent from the field.