NBA

Booker plays down first triple-double after Suns take Game 1

The Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker reflected on his performance after his team beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Sunday's Western Conference Finals Game 1.

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NBA playoffs 2021: Booker plays down career first triple-double after Suns sizzle in Game 1

Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker claimed the first triple-double of his career on Sunday but insisted he is purely focused on winning after leading his team past the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Booker registers Suns' first postseason triple-double in 16 years

Booker was the star of the show with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the second-seeded Suns drew first blood against the Clippers 120-114 in Phoenix.

With star team-mate Chris Paul (covid-19 health and safety protocols) sidelined, Booker – in the midst of his first NBA playoffs campaign – became the first Suns player to register a triple-double in the postseason since Hall of Famer Steve Nash in 2005.

Booker also became the third youngest player in NBA history to record a 40-point triple-double in the playoffs – only Luka Doncic and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson have achieved the feat at a younger age.

"I'll let you guys do the rankings," Booker said. "I'm just going out there to win every game possible. I've been saying this since the start of the playoffs — every next game is the biggest game."

Suns team-mate Jae Crowder said: "I don't understand why everyone's acting surprised at this point.

"This is his first time on this stage but he's capable. He's more than capable. He's more than ready. He prepares like no other."

Lue praises Clippers' "fight" despite defeat

The Clippers – featuring in the Conference Finals for the first time in their history – were without star Kawhi Leonard for a third consecutive game due to a knee injury.

Paul George (34 points) and Reggie Jackson (24 points) tried to inspire the fourth seeds on the road in the series opener.

"I have no excuse," Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. "I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit — they were making shots and we didn't. But I loved our fight. I loved what I saw."

George added: "We got to figure out how to counter, which we will, figure out another game plan. I think this was a good feel-out game to see adjustments. We have been great at adjusting."