The Clippers did not have a lot of time to celebrate making history. They became the first team in NBA history to come back from an 0-2 series deficit two series in a row and the first team in franchise history to make it to eh Conference Finals on Friday. On Sunday, they had to lace them up and face a well rested Phoenix Suns team. Fair or not, that’s how things played out for Los Angeles. The superstars for both teams showed up and played well. Paul George had 34 points while Devon Booker finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Which, is kinda the story of game 1.
The Clippers played well, the Suns were just a little better.
Star of the Game
Devon Booker was spectacular for the Suns. In the absence of Chris Paul Booker took it upon himself to play some point guard. He led his team with those 11 assists. He took over the game when the Suns needed him too. In short, he did what a superstar is supposed to do. The game is a lot easier for teams when they have someone they know can take and make his own shot. In game 1, Devon Booker was that guy for the Suns.
Marcus Morris Sr, did not have a great game. He shot 3-11, 0-5 from 3-point range. He appeared to hurt his knee at some point in the first half and was limited after that. Of course, not knowing exactly what the status of Kawhi Leonard is also a concern. But, injuries aside, the Clippers primary concern right now are the Phoenix Suns. Deandre Ayton proved to be a formidable big who may not be as simple a puzzle to solve for Ty Lue as Rudy Gobert proved to be. Consider that Paul George and Devon Booker will cancel each other points, more or less, in terms of production. That leaves the others on both teams as the difference makers. In game 1, Deandre Ayton was a difference maker.
If Deandre Ayton was the difference maker for the Suns, DeMarcus Cousins is the possible answer for the Clippers. In 13 minutes of action he contributed 11 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block. The problem for Cousins is that he also had 5 personal fouls. Most of his time came against Suns backups, not Ayton, but that might change in game 2. Assuming that Cousins can stay on the court.
Western Conference Finals Game 2 v Phoenix Suns in Phoenix, Monday, June 21 at 6:00PM Pacific
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Jose never liked to write when he had to. Now that he gets to, he loves it! Former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, covered the 2010 NBA Finals for the LA Times.