There were bright spots and some glaring holes in the Phoenix Suns’ first-round series victory against the LA Clippers, including some issues that must be fixed for Denver.
Given the eight-game tenure of Kevin Durant with Phoenix heading into the post-season, having an extra game and getting pushed a little by the Los Angeles Clippers was good for the Suns. With five more games under his belt with the squad in high-pressure situations, there is little doubt that KD will be even more comfortable than his smooth 28 points per game in round one against the Nuggets in round two.
KD was, in many ways, a non-story in the first round because he did the job we all expected of him without ever having a real breakout game. The Slim Reaper had his lowest scoring output (25) in the game 2 victory and his series high of 31 twice. One Suns player did have a breakout game or three, and it is our first positive for Phoenix coming from Round 1.
Positive 1: The Suns have a superstar on their hands
Going into the playoffs, we all knew the Suns had at least one superstar, and after round one, we still know the Suns have at least one superstar. However; for some, that superstar may have changed. With his 28 points per game, Durant did nothing to hurt his reputation; however, Devin Booker took a step toward raising his reputation.
Like his play in the first round against a different LA team two seasons ago when Booker led Phoenix to the NBA finals, D-Book took his regular season game to the next level. Averaging just over 37 points per contest against the Clippers while shooting over 60% from the field. To say Booker took his game to the next level would be an understatement.
Booker has seen improvement in every major statistical category from his regular season numbers. His rebounds are up half a rebound per night. His assists are up almost 1 a game going from 5.5 to 6.4, and his steals are up over 1 per contest. Displaying a complete, all-around game on the defensive end while increasing his scoring by nearly 10 points per game is just otherworldly.