99-90: Suns drown Lakers with masterful Devin Booker

Los Angeles (USA), May 23 (EFE) .- The Phoenix Suns took advantage this Sunday in their series against the Los Angeles Lakers (99-90) thanks to a masterful Devin Booker and a collective display of energy, effort and physical waste that drowned the reigning NBA champions.

Booker, who had not played a playoff game until today, made a memorable debut in the playoffs with 34 points (13 of 26 shooting), 7 rebounds and 8 assists.

The young guard tormented the Lakers time and time again, got out of all the traps and defensive aids that the visitors set him, and was a tireless agitator of the Suns offense.

At his side also stood out the center Deandre Ayton, who with 21 points and 16 rebounds (8 offensive) emerged triumphant from his fearsome confrontation in the paint against Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.

On the part of some Lakers with little brightness, LeBron James stood out with 18 points (6 of 13 in shots), 7 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Angelenos seemed to have a march less than their rivals and presented a painful hit from the triple (27% with 7 of 26 shooting).

Marc Gasol did not play a minute for the Lakers.

The Suns, who had not played in the NBA playoffs since 2010, were second in the Western Conference (51-21) and that led them to face the Lakers, who defend the ring obtained in the “bubble” and who achieved their ticket for the playoffs after landing a disappointing seventh place in the West (42-30) and eliminating Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors in the play-in.

The series between the renewed Suns and the experienced Lakers also has the incentive of the confrontation between LeBron James and Chris Paul, two of the most important players in the NBA in the 21st century, who are also very close friends and who had never met before. measured in the playoffs.


The staging was vibrant and worthy of the great duels.

With a constant give and take and without stopping for a second, the Suns spared no effort and turned the game up from the start with Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton leading the stampede.

The Lakers were not far behind and Dennis Schroder in the direction and LeBron James from the perimeter with two triples in a row equaled a frantic and very exciting start (15-15 after five minutes).

The local team seemed determined to end the Lakers by exhaustion and Ayton, the lord and master of the area, put the rubric with 10 points to a great first quarter of the Suns (32-25).

The statistics perfectly reflected the overwhelming basketball of the Phoenix team: they made 58% of their shots from the field, dominated the rebound (15 by 9 for the Lakers) and scored 10 points on counterattack against none of their rivals.

Two court workers like Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso took to the court to balance the Suns’ electricity, but 4 points in a row from Dario Saric gave Arizona their first major difference (38-27 after two minutes ).

At that moment came the most chilling moment of the meeting.

Paul retired injured in the shoulder with huge gestures of pain and surrounded by players from both teams, but fortunately he was able to return to the court soon after.

The Suns seemed to be touched by the temporary absence of his brain and Montrezl Harrell pulled muscle and claw to reactivate the Lakers and bring them closer on the scoreboard.

However, Booker, a constant nightmare for the Lakers defense, masterfully held the Suns before the break (53-45).

At the resumption the Lakers insisted once again on populating the area with Drummond and Anthony Davis, but Booker was in charge of confirming that the short and agile Suns quintet was unrivaled (65-53 with eight minutes left).

Very uncomfortable, the Lakers did not finish finding their rhythm in either of the two baskets, while the Suns successfully exploited the surprising deficiencies of the Angelenos to defend the block and continuation.

In one of the countless transitions of the Suns, Mikal Bridges served his team in the middle of the third quarter the biggest advantage so far (71-56) after a new loose ball from the Lakers.

But then the pride of the purple and gold appeared.

With the penetrations of Schroder and the anger of James, the Lakers got a partial of 0-8 not to say goodbye to the meeting (71-64).

The Suns didn’t lose their nerve and, with life insurance on free throws like Booker, they stayed ahead before the fourth quarter (81-68).

The guard did not put the brakes on and added 5 more points as soon as the final quarter started, but James threw the Lakers on his back to keep his team alive (86-77 after three minutes).

The tension rose even further when the Suns’ Cameron Payne was sent off after a brawl with Caruso and Harrell.

Paul was still playing with obvious shoulder problems, but was still able to score a basket on Kyle Kuzma.

In the end, the Lakers didn’t find the spark to orchestrate a last-minute comeback, and the Suns secured a valuable win with Ayton’s offensive rebounds and Booker’s all-round poise.

The Suns and Lakers will meet on Tuesday in the second game of the tie, which will also be played in Phoenix (USA).

(c) EFE Agency

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