The LA Clippers fell in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix with a score of 120-114 to an all-star version led by Devin Booker, who finished with a triple-double for the Phoenix Suns in his first Playoff appearance. of the NBA.
“There are no excuses, we play hard and compete. We had good shots at the end of the game that we did not make, so you have to give them credit, “said Tyronn Lue, coach of the Clippers, on the victory of the Suns. “They made their shots and we didn’t.”
Booker was an unstoppable force in every facet of the game, scoring 40 points, plus 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his first game in conference finals and also became the first Suns player with a triple-double in the playoffs since. Steve Nash to do it in 2005.
To get there, the Clippers had to stop Luka Doncic in the first postseason round against the Dallas Mavericks, and then Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. Now, the mission is to contain Booker.
“They are all great players (Doncic, Mitchell and Booker). Each presents a different challenge. It will be a difficult challenge for us to mark him (to Devin). We have to analyze and define how we want to defend him, what things we want to stop from his game and now, from there, ”Lue insisted.
The Clippers fought to the end, even without one of their stars, Kawhi Leonard, in a close game that was tied 13 times and had 20 lead changes on the board.
The Clippers and Suns tied 93-93 at the end of the third quarter and in the last, the Angelenos made mistakes that ended up tipping the scales for the home team.
“We have to figure out how to be better. I take responsibility in my performance, for example, we only had nine robberies of balls and I did five of those, “Reggie Jackson lamented. “You have to protect the ball better, allow us to take shots and not waste possessions. The postseason is a game of possessions. “
The Clippers did not have Leonard, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered in the series against the Jazz and did not make the trip to Phoenix, so he will miss the first two games of the finals in the west.
“(Kawhi) is an older brother, our leader. He is a player who has confidence in the group. He is here in spirit as he tries to recover. He has come out and made sure we feel his presence, wishing us well and giving advice, ”shared Reggie.
Leonard’s status has been handled tightly and it is unknown if he could return for Game 3 in Los Angeles.
For their part, the Suns also have Paul’s discharge indefinitely due to COVID-19 protocols.
Marcus Morris suffered a knee injury in the first half and although he returned to the game in the third period after receiving treatment, it was clear that he was not 100 percent and will have to see his evolution.
The Clippers only had 36 hours to prepare for this first game against Phoenix after beating Utah in a contested Game 6 on Friday night.
For their part, the Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in four games since last Sunday, giving them time to rest and recover.
“We have to find a way to adjust. This is a team of another caliber compared to the other two that we face, plus a game of guards. We have to find a way to counter and we will, ”said George, who scored 34 points. “We will figure out another game plan. We wanted to take this game with us, but at the same time, it was an opportunity to feel the team and know what adjustments should be made.
“Just being able to make adjustments has been one of our strengths and we have improved our game as the series progresses,” added George.
Game 2 between the Suns and Clippers is scheduled for Tuesday at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.