Booker cooks, Suns clinch series against Clippers

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) dunks over Los Angeles Clippers center Mason Plumlee (44),...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) dunks over Los Angeles Clippers center Mason Plumlee (44), forward Nicolas Batum, left, and guard Norman Powell, right, during the second half of Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 25, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)(Matt York | AP)
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:39 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:52 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Devin Booker had a record-setting night, and the Suns survived a scare down the stretch to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 136-130 in Game 5 on Tuesday to clinch the Western Conference first-round series, 4-1. Booker finished the game with 47 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. It’s the first time the Suns have clinched a playoff series at home since 2007. Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets, who won earlier on Tuesday night, will be Saturday in Denver.

Clippers had a 79-71 lead, but then Booker took over. He scored 25 points in just that quarter on 10-11 shooting. The Clippers only scored 24 points as a team. The Suns scored a total of 50 points in just that quarter, and they came back and pushed the lead to 111-94.

It was Booker’s sixth 40+ point game in the postseason, which is now a Suns franchise record. He also had his 17th career 30-point playoff game, passing Charles Barkley for the most in Suns franchise history.

Kevin Durant was overshadowed by Booker but still put up 31 points on 10-19 shooting, including four 3s. Booker and Durant have now scored at least 25 points in all five postseason games this year, matching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal for the longest streak by a pair of teammates to start a postseason in NBA history.

Ayton had a dominant second quarter, scoring nine points, ending the half with 18 total points on 8-11 shooting. He also grabbed four boards. Ayton finished the game with 21 points and 11 rebounds. But the Suns struggled on the offensive glass, with LA getting 10 offensive rebounds leading to 21 second-chance points. Clippers led 70-61 at halftime.

Booker had a fast start to the first quarter with eight points and two assists, including during a fastbreak pass to Durant, who finished with a dunk. That gave the Suns a 12-9 lead with 7:41 left in the first. He added two more points, and the Suns had a 32-30 lead after one quarter. The team only made one three-pointer and shot nearly 60% from the field. Norman Powell had 11 points for the Clippers.