Suns torch clippers in game 1

(Agence France-Presse) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

PHOENIX – Devin Booker delivered a 40-point triple-double as the Phoenix Suns shook off some playoff rust to beat the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 in the opening game of the Western Conference finals Sunday.

Booker also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double as the Suns won despite the absence of all-star guard Chris Paul, who has been quarantining due to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

“I’m just going out there to win every game possible,” said Booker. “I’ve been saying this since the start of the playoffs – every next game is the biggest game.”

The Suns’ Jae Crowder said it was fitting that Booker put on a show in front of the crowd of 16,583 at Phoenix Suns Arena.

“I expect it. I know the type of player he is,” Crowder said.

Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Phoenix.

This is an unexpected NBA final four match-up between two franchises trying to cap their storybook seasons by winning their first NBA titles. The Clippers have never been to the conference finals before and the Suns last made it in 2010.

This was the Suns’ first game since last Sunday when they completed a four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the second round.

It is their ninth trip to the conference finals as they seek their first title in their 53-year history.

“I have no excuse,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.

Elsewhere, Kevin Huerter scored a playoff career-high 27 points as the upstart Atlanta Hawks punched their ticket to their first Eastern Conference finals in six years, with a 103-96 Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

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