Suns even series with Clippers, 1-1

The Phoenix Suns tied the Western Conference first-round series with the Clippers behind Devin Booker.

After dropping Game 1 on Sunday, Devin Booker led Phoenix in its comeback against the Clippers with 38 points and 9 assists. 

The Suns outlasted the Clippers 123-109 on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the playoff series and shot 58.8% with 30 assists. That is the ninth time since 2010 an NBA team has reached those two marks in a playoff game. 

“Just get game three. It’s win at all costs,” stated Booker on his mindset heading to Los Angeles for Game 3. “Doesn’t matter what stats look like. Doesn’t matter what happened these past two games … It’s a new assignment for us.”

Kevin Durant joined Booker’s scoring effort with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile Chris Paul went 4-5 to finish the game at 57% from the field with eight assists.

The Clippers led by as many as 13 points before allowing some big scoring runs from Phoenix in the second half.

Kawhi Leonard led the charge with 31 points after scoring 38 on Sunday. Leonard’s performance Tuesday helped him reach his fourth straight playoff game with at least 30 points. 

Despite the 1-1 split after Tuesday’s game, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue stated, “Our confidence is up. We believe we can win the series.”

Turning point: The Clippers created a large lead for themselves halfway though the second quarter leading by 12 points. That gap was cut short by Booker who sank a three-pointer with less than a second left in the half to tie the game, 59-59.

The Suns flipped the script in the third when they found themselves leading Los Angeles by 10 points. Phoenix never lost their lead in the final quarter before pulling away with the 123-109 win.

What it means: Both teams will now make their way to Los Angeles for game three of the best-of-seven series. Game five is now on the calendar after the 1-1 split.

Hits: Russell Westbrook doubled his first-half points from Game 1 and finished with 17 points in the first half on Tuesday. Westbrook closed out Game 2 with 28 points on 9-16 shooting (56%).

Misses: Nicolas Batum, Norman Powell and Bones Hyland all combined for 0-11 from deep on the court. Off the court, Paul George continued to cheer on his team from the sidelines after suffering a sprained knee. He has yet to see any action in the series and is still considered doubtful to play against Phoenix at all. 

Stat of the game: Although it was not their best shooting performance, the Clippers’ bench outscored the Suns’ 30-13.

Up next: The Clippers will return to Arena for the first time in the postseason on Thursday to host Phoenix for game three. Los Angeles ended their regular season’s home schedule 23-18 while the Suns finished 17-24 on the road. Now the only two questions that stand: how will the Clippers respond and can Phoenix keep the momentum going?

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