Phoenix Suns

Sounds like Deandre Ayton believes the Devin Booker show is just getting started in the Western Conference finals.

>Full screen 1/72 SLIDES © Patrick Breen/The Republic
June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) and Deandre Ayton (22) celebrate a Bridges 3-pointere against the Clippers during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) dunks against the Clippers after a Devin Booker (1) assist during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) dunks against the Clippers after a Devin Booker (1) assist during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) scores against Clippers' Nicolas Batum (33) during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Torey Craig (12) hits a three pointer against the Clippers during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Jae Crowder (99) celebrates a three pointer against the Clippers during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Jae Crowder (99) celebrates a three pointer against the Clippers during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' general manager James Jones hugs his children after winning the NBA Executive of the Year prior to game 1 against the Clippers at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' general manager James Jones speaks to the crowd with his children after winning the NBA Executive of the Year prior to game 1 against the Clippers at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) shoots against the Clippers during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges celebrates a basket against the Clippers with head coach Monty Williams during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges celebrates a basket against the Clippers with head coach Monty Williams during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) and Deandre Ayton (22) double team Clippers' Paul George (13) during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) battles for a rebound with LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) battles LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) for a rebound during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) battles for a rebound with Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig (12) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (33) battle for position during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40)Is fouled by Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns players huddle before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the LA Clippers in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) and LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) battle for a rebound during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and guard Devin Booker (1) celebrate their 120-114 victory against the LA Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) ceelbrates during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the LA Clippers in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) celebrate during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the LA Clippers in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) and guard Devin Booker (1) celebrate their 120-114 victory against the LA Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) celebrates in front of LA Clippers guard Rajon Rondo (4) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shows his emotions against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) hangs on the rim after a dunk against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) draws a double team from Clippers' Paul George (13) and Marcus Morris (8) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) passes against Clippers' Demarcus Cousins (15) and Paul George (13) to Deandre Ayton (22) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) passes against Clippers' Demarcus Cousins (15) and Reggie Jackson (1) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) claps for Cameron Payne (15) after he draws a foul against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) makes a hook shot against Clippers' Paul George (13) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) throws an alley-oop pass to Deandre Ayton (22) against Clippers' Nicolas Batum (33) and Marcus Morris (8) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' head coach Monty Williams and Devin Booker (1) talks with an official after a foul on Clippers' Paul George during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Clippers' Reggie Jackson (1) makes a layup against the Suns during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) comes up the court against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) dunks the ball against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Clippers's Paul George (13) hits a three against Suns' Devin Booker (1) during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges (25) blocks a shot on Clippers' Paul George (13) during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is called for a foul on Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) put the ball in against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) is fouled by LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Jae Crowder (99) looks at the fans after the Suns extend the lead to 8 points during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) reacts with the fans after a three pointer agains the Clippers during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Clippers' Demarcus Cousins (15) dunks on Suns' Dario Saric (20) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) draws a double team from Clippers' Paul George (13) and Marcus Morris (8) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) passes against Clippers' Demarcus Cousins (15) and Paul George (13) to Deandre Ayton (22) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) passes against Clippers' Demarcus Cousins (15) and Reggie Jackson (1) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) claps for Cameron Payne (15) after he draws a foul against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) makes a hook shot against Clippers' Paul George (13) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) throws an alley-oop pass to Deandre Ayton (22) against Clippers' Nicolas Batum (33) and Marcus Morris (8) during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' head coach Monty Williams and Devin Booker (1) talks with an official after a foul on Clippers' Paul George during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Clippers' Reggie Jackson (1) makes a layup against the Suns during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) comes up the court against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) dunks the ball against the Clippers during the second quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Clippers's Paul George (13) hits a three against Suns' Devin Booker (1) during the third quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Deandre Ayton (22) makes a shot against Clippers' Marcus Morris (8) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Cameron Payne (15) makes a layup past Clippers' Reggie Jackson (1) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) battles for a rebound with LA Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) drives on Clippers' Terrance Mann (14) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) is defended by Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is defended by LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Devin Booker (1) drives against Clippers' Ivica Zubac (40) during the first quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
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Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) passes the ball while defended by LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) is defended by LA Clippers guard Luke Kennard (5) and LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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LA Clippers guard Rajon Rondo (4) lays the ball up against Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Fans cheer during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the LA Clippers in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) slams two against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) passes the ball around LA Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) lays the ball up against LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. (8) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) looks to pass while defended by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.
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June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns fans react to a basket during the first quarter against the Clippers at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic
72/72 SLIDES

"He already acting up," Ayton said. "You just got to wait. Everyone just got to have their popcorn ready and just be ready."

Booker certainly performed an elite level in leading the second-seeded Phoenix Suns to a 120-114 Game 1 victory Sunday over the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in which he posted a colossal triple-double before a sellout crowd of 16,583 at Phoenix Suns Arena.

Devin Booker et al. standing in front of a crowd: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shows his emotions against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021. © Michael Chow, Michael Chow/The Republic Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shows his emotions against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.

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  • 40 points (15-of-29 FGs)
  • 13 rebounds (career-high)
  • 11 assists (to only two turnovers).

It's about time.

"I think I've came close a few times in my career and just never got over the hump, but I'll take it now," Booker said.

The Suns needed all of Booker's efforts to help make up for not having Chris Paul, who missed Game 1 under the NBA's health and safety protocols.

'The win feels better': Devin Booker posts first career triple-double in Game 1 win > Arizona Republic See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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Head coach Monty Williams went into the game on Father's Day with "no clue" as to how Phoenix would play without its All-Star point guard and leader.

"I knew we would compete," Williams said after Monday's practice. "I knew that the guys would have great intentions on defense, try to make the right plays, be disciplined. There's no sample size for that. Western Conference finals. You're without Chris Paul. You're hoping."

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With Paul ruled out for Tuesday's Game 2 still under health and safety protocols, the Suns will once again need more from everyone else in trying to take a 2-0 series lead.

"Anytime you lose a guy that's such an important part of your process, you've got to change some things," Suns wing Cam Johnson said after Monday's practice. "You've got to tweak some things. I think we did a decent job of doing that yesterday and it's just going to be a continuation of the concepts."

Rajon Rondo, Nicolas Batum playing a game of frisbee: Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) put the ball in against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021. © Michael Chow, Michael Chow/The Republic Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) put the ball in against the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.

Before looking into Game 2 as the Clippers will once again be without first-team All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard for a fourth straight game with a sprained right knee, here's a look back at Phoenix's franchise-best eighth straight postseason win.

"Got a hungry team over there," said Clippers guard Reggie Jackson after Game 1.  "They played extremely well. They played hard even without their floor general. We are going to be ready for whatever lineup they throw at us and make sure we make adjustments and get our rest and come out in this tough environment, tough building and try to get one of these games or get one in Game 2."

'Different caliber team': Los Angeles Clippers drop Game 1 Sunday to Phoenix Suns > Arizona Republic See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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Player of Sunday's Game 1: Devin Booker

Ayton said Booker stole "all" his rebounds, but he did grab nine himself, scored 20 points and presented a different playoff challenge to the Clippers.

"We've got a big who is better offensively than bigs we've played before," said Clippers big Ivica Zubac after Monday's practice.

In the first round, the Dallas Mavericks started Maxi Kleber, a stretch four, at center, but went with 7-foot-4 Boban Marjanović the final three games of a series that went seven.

Marjanovic averaged 11.8 points in four games while Kleber only put up 5.3 in seven.

In the conference semifinals, Los Angeles faced three-time defensive player of year, Rudy Gobert, who averaged 12.5 points in a series that ended in six games.

Ayton is averaging 15.6 points on a healthy 71.6% shooting in the playoffs, but is capable of scoring 20 as he did Sunday.

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) battles LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) for a rebound during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021. © Michael Chow/The Republic Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) battles LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) for a rebound during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix June 20, 2021.

'He's better at finishing around the rim'

Shooting 10-of-14 from the field, Ayton took advantage of the Clippers starting Nicolas Batum at center and then remained effective against DeMarcus Cousins and Zubac.

"He's better at finishing around the rim," Zubac continued. "He can get the ball in the post when we go small and he's just more aggressive offensively. He's always trying to get in position for offensive boards. So it's definitely different." 

Ayton also held up defensively, something Gobert didn't do as that series progressed as he was left to contest corner 3s the Clippers repeatedly splashed.

The Suns worked to keep Ayton out of those situations as much as possible.

"We're doing the best we can to try to keep him out of rotations," Williams said. "Sometimes it doesn't always work that way. There were a couple times when he rotated out to Reggie in the corners, but he was able to get a hand up and contest those shots. He had one situation where he helped off of Nicolas, and Nicolas got a three. So that's a situation you want to avoid where he's that guy that has to rotate back out."

a person standing in front of a crowd: June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges celebrates a basket against the Clippers with head coach Monty Williams during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic © Patrick Breen/The Republic June 20, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Suns' Mikal Bridges celebrates a basket against the Clippers with head coach Monty Williams during the fourth quarter at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic

'Big-time'

The Suns had six players reach double figures with Mikal Bridges having a huge fourth quarter in finishing with 14 points. Scoring half of his points in the fourth on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting (1-of-1 from 3), Bridges also had a steal and block in the quarter.

"Just seeing how he kept his poise and kept his head together throughout the game, sacrificing some shots to even create for others is big-time," Ayton said. "We play a rhythm and it eventually got to him and he took advantage of it. I think he left with a big bang."

Booker left with the biggest bang, though.

Scoring 29 of his 40 points in the second half on 10-of-19 shooting, Booker had eight assists, seven rebounds and only committed one turnover after the break.

"A lot of it is his understanding of our offense and where guys are going to be," Williams said. "That always helps."

Playing 44 minutes, Booker showed a high level of conditioning, but that was after having six days between Game 4 of the conference semifinals and Game 1 Sunday.

With only a day between Game 1 and Game 2 of the conference finals, Booker's endurance may face a greater challenge as the Clippers seek a split before returning home for Game 3 Thursday at STAPLES Center.

Watch to watch in Game 2

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue thought they picked Booker up too high, which allowed him to come off screens near halfcourt and play downhill.

Lue also said they've got to adjust to better defend Booker's midrange game.

Will the adjustments slow down Booker?

Los Angeles shot better from 3 than the Suns at 42.6% to 40.6, but only connected on 4-of-14 in the fourth in being outscored by six points in the quarter, 27-21.

Phoenix won by six.

The Clippers had just one day between Game 6 against Utah and Game 1 versus Phoenix that began at 12:30 p.m. 

Will they have better legs in the fourth of Game 2?

Finally, the Suns scored 54 points in the paint and 16 transition points.

So they not only put in work in the interior, but got out on the break for easy baskets, which was a priority going into this series.

Can Phoenix continue to play fast, a style that favors Cameron Payne and Booker?

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix Suns: Look back at Devin Booker's triple-double, ahead to pivotal Game 2 minus Chris Paul

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/phoenix-suns-look-back-at-devin-bookers-triple-double-ahead-to-pivotal-game-2-minus-chris-paul/ar-AALi0e4

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