The Phoenix suns took advantage this Sunday in their series against Los angeles lakers (99-90) thanks to a Devin Booker masterful and a collective display of energy, effort and physical waste that drowned the reigning NBA champions.
Booker, who until today had not played a game of playoff, made a memorable debut in the playoffs with 34 points (13 of 26 shooting), 7 rebounds and 8 assists.
The young escort tormented the Lakers, he got out of all the traps and defensive aids that the visitors gave him, and he was a tireless agitator of the Suns offense.
At his side, the pivot also stood out Deandre ayton, who with 21 points and 16 rebounds (8 offensive) emerged triumphant from his fearsome confrontation in the paint against Anthony Davis Y Andre Drummond.
On the part of some Lakers low-gloss highlighted Lebron James with 18 points (6 of 13 shooting), 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 He didn’t play any minute for the Lakers.
The Suns, who had not played in the NBA playoffs since 2010, finished 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 obtained their ticket for the qualifying rounds after achieving a disappointing seventh place in the West (42-30) and eliminating in the play-in to the Golden state warriors from Stephen Curry.
The series among the renewed Suns and the experienced Lakers It also has the incentive of the confrontation between Lebron
James Y Chris paul, two of the most important NBA players of the 21st century, who are also very close friends and who had never before measured in the playoffs.
An overwhelming start
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 raised the revolutions of the game from the beginning with Chris paul, Devin Booker Y Deandre ayton leading the stampede.
The Lakers they were not left behind and Dennis schroder in the y direction Lebron James from the perimeter with two triples in a row they 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 de Phoenix: they made 58% of their field goals, dominated the rebound (15 for 9 of the Lakers) and scored 10 points in counterattack against none of their rivals.
Two field workers like Talen Horton-Tucker Y Alex Caruso jumped onto the court to balance the Suns electricity, but 4 points followed by Dario Saric they gave Arizona their first major difference (38-27 after two minutes).
At that moment came the most chilling moment of the meeting.
Paul He retired injured in the shoulder with enormous 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 to the scoreboard.
However, Booker, a constant nightmare for the Lakers defense, masterfully sustained the Suns before the break (53-45).
In the resumption the Lakers once again insisted on populating the area with Drummond Y Anthony Davis, but Booker was in charge of confirming that the low and agile quintet of the Suns He was unrivaled (65-53 with eight minutes to go).
Very uncomfortable, Lakers they could not find 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 He served his team in the equator of the third quarter the greatest advantage so far (71-56) after a new lost ball from the Lakers.
But then the pride of the purple and gold appeared.
With the penetrations of Schroder and the rage of James, the Lakers They got a partial 0-8 not to say goodbye to the match (71-64).
The Suns they didn’t lose their nerve and, with life insurance on free throws like Booker, 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 went to the Lakers on his back to keep his team alive (86-77 after three minutes).
The tension rose even higher when Cameron
Payne of the Suns was expelled after a brawl with Caruso Y Harrell.
Paul was still playing with obvious shoulder problems, but was still able to score a basket over Kyle kuzma.
In the end, Lakers They didn’t find the spark to orchestrate a last-minute comeback and the Suns secured a valuable victory with offensive rebounds from Ayton and serenity at all times of Booker.
The Suns and the Lakers they will meet on Tuesday in the second game of the tie, which will also be played in Phoenix (USA).