Devin Booker wasn’t going to let the Phoenix Suns fall into an 0-2 hole.
Booker dropped 38 points to lead the Suns past the Los Angeles Clippers 123-109 in Game 2 of their opening-round playoff series on Tuesday night at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. That tied the series up 1-1 before it heads to Los Angeles later this week.
Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers were rolling early, and seemed poised to back up their 5-point win in Game 1. Leonard and Russell Westbrook combined for 32 points in the first two quarters, and they pushed ahead to a 12-point lead midway through the second. Yet the Suns, thanks to a huge Booker 3-pointer in the final second of the quarter, ended the half on an 11-2 run to tie things back up.
That run carried right over into the second half. The Suns opened the third on a 14-4 run, which suddenly gave them a 10-point lead. That completed a massive 22-point swing over about nine minutes of game time, and marked the Suns’ first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
“Coming out of the halftime break, it was just juice, toughness, grit,” Suns coach Monty Williams said, via Forbes’ Shane Young. “Offensive execution was decent, but I think we were able to get the stops in a row to start the second half. That really gave us a lot of energy.”
The Suns carried a 5-point lead into the fourth, thanks largely to Booker’s 18 points in the period. That quickly turned into a double-digit lead after back-to-back buckets from Chris Paul early in the quarter. From there, the Suns had an answer to every small run the Clippers tried to make. Westbrook cut the game to 6 points with just three minutes left, but Paul answered with a fadeaway bucket of his own instantly. That sparked an 8-0 run the rest of the way, which sealed the 14-point win for Phoenix.
Leonard led the Clippers with 31 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Westbrook — who had just 9 points in Game 1, but came up with the game-sealing block at the end — finished with 28 points and shot 9-of-16 from the field.
Booker added 9 assists to his 38 points on the night, and he shot 14 of 22 from the field. Durant finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and Torrey Craig dropped 17 points off five 3-pointers. Paul put up 16 points and 8 assists, and shot 8 of 14 from the field. The win snapped a 13-game playoff losing skid for Paul in postseason games that official Scott Foster was working, too.
Game 3 of the series is set for Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV) at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
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