By. Ricardo Carbajal
PHOENIX -- It had been 11 long years since they've been this deep in the playoffs and the Phoenix Suns made the most out of the experience.
Devin Booker chose a perfect time to notch his first-ever career triple-double to help the Suns burn the visiting L.A. Clippers, 120-114, to take Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in front of 18,055 fans at the Phoenix Suns Arena on Monday.
Despite a slow start where the two-time All-Star tallied just 11 first half points. Booker caught fire at the turn to finish with 40 points. 13 rebounds and 11 assists. The 24-year old star from the famed University of Kentucky converted 15 of 29 field goals and 3-of-7 from 3. He also went 7-of-7 from the free throw stripe.
"I'm just going out there to win every game possible. I've been saying that since the start of the playoffs," Booker said after Phoenix moved three games away from a slot in the NBA Finals. a journey that has become increasingly challenging in the wake of the absence of veteran Chris Paul who is currently in quarantinng after entering the league's health and safety protocols.
Fortunately for Booker, this Suns team is loaded with young and veteran talent pulling on the same rope.
DeAndre Ayton aided the Suns cause with 20 points and nine rebounds. Jae Crowder made three triples and 13 points. Mikal Bridges had 14 and Cameron Payne chipped in 11 points and nine dimes. The Phoenix bench accounted for 22.
Paul George led the Clippers with 34 points and Reggie Jackson registered 24 and six rebounds but Los Angeles didn't have another player finish with double figures in points despite the team's high 45.5 percent clip from the field (40-of-88) and 42 .6 percent from 3 (20-of-47).
"I have no excuse. I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit -- they were making shots and we didn't. But I love our fight. I love what I saw," Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters.
Game 2 is Wednesday in Phoenix. (RC)