Without CP3, the young star Suns invents a masterpiece of 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and drags the Arizona franchise to victory in the first match of the finals in the West
“Be legendary”. Devin Booker even got the phrase Kobe Bryant greeted him with tattooed the last time they played against, in 2016. He carries that mantra in every training, in every sacrifice, in every constant attempt to improve, as he has. suggested the Mamba. And from up there he will have looked at this Phoenix-Clippers, the first act of the Western Conference final, with a smile. Because Booker was absolutely legendary, with 40 icing points on the cake of his first triple double (also 13 rebounds and 11 assists) in the playoffs, essential to launch the Suns to 120-114 which is worth race-1. A show at a time when Phoenix needed it most, given Chris Paul’s absence for Covid. A show of heavy baskets and lunges, of clever plays and magic, like a true phenomenon. From legend. The Clippers, dragged once again by Paul George (34 points) in the absence of Kawhi Leonard, disbanded in the second half but were reborn in the final, reopening a race that seemed closed.
Booker made the Booker and the Paul, unstoppable basket machine and driver for his teammates. This match shows how much he has matured, how much he is no longer just a formidable scorer but a true leader. But he didn’t win alone. DeAndre Ayton did very badly to the small quintet of the Clippers, confirming that he is a high-level center. Cameron Payne was not out of place in the impossible task of replacing Chris Paul, managing the attack and adding an excellent defense. Mikal Bridges was confirmed as a sharp weapon capable of hurting both attack and defense. The Suns played brazen, determined, regardless of the inexperience, of the stage on which they performed. They won by playing in their own way, like Suns, with a careful defense and an attack capable of exploiting the weaknesses of the opponents. With CP3 they are on another level, but they have shown that they have memorized the teachings of that example that they have followed all year. And who hope soon, already in this series, to return to follow the field.
Paul George tried to be legendary too. With Kawhi Leonard knocked out for the rest of the playoffs, PG knows that it’s up to him to make the difference, to lead the team. He succeeded, churning out a show of talent and determination. His companions much less. They have the excuse of 36 hours between Game-6 against Utah and this inaugural act of the first conference finals in Clippers history. But they failed, and on the pitch it made a difference. Especially when fatigue has made itself felt. Reggie Jackson was the only one up to George, adding another good game (24 points) to PG’s show. Marcus Morris complained of fatigue, so much so that he needed medical intervention in the third quarter; Terance Mann, the hero of race-6, was void. Nic Batum did not manage to overthrow Ayton as he did with Rudy Gobert in the last act with Jazz, the bench was not seen. And the defense in the second half got confused, overwhelmed by Booker. Lue feared such a match after the hangover of emotion and fatigue of the challenge with Utah: the Clippers are in the conference final because they have always understood how to react and now they will have to do it again.
After a very balanced first half, closed by the Suns ahead 57-54, the match leveled up in the third quarter. The Clippers give the first push, taking control with a 16-2 run that the excellent Jackson closes in 84-78 at 3’44 “from the siren. The slap ignites Booker, who rises to legend level and brings the Suns back inside. George responds to excellence with excellence, and the 93-93 of the siren is the inevitable consequence of the class of the two stars: Booker closes the period with 18 points, PG with 15. The Suns try several times to take control in the last fourth, and they seem to have the match in the safe when Bridges 3 makes 116-106 with 1’59 “to go. The Clippers instead of raising the white flag regain energy, at 22 ”with Mann they arrive under 116-114, but Booker raises the laps and closes the scores.
June 20, 2021 (change June 21, 2021 | 00:50)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED