Suns advance past Lakers in 6 games, play Nuggets in conference semis
The Phoenix Suns advanced past the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening-round series and will move on to play the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Suns defeated the Lakers 113-100 in Game 6 on Thursday night at the Staples Center to win the series 4-2.
Devin Booker led the way for Phoenix with 47 points en route to setting a career-high for 3s in a single game with eight, six of which came in the first quarter.
Lakers forward Anthony Davis left the game halfway through the opening period and was ruled out due to a strained left groin.
The Suns earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference after finishing with a record of 51-21 in the regular season. The Lakers were seventh, pitting them against the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament. Los Angeles won and the series was set.
Phoenix won Game 1 behind a strong one-two punch through Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in their respective playoff debuts. Booker had 34 points, seven rebounds and eight assists while Ayton added 21 points and 16 rebounds. There was a series-changing moment in the game as well when Suns point guard Chris Paul awkwardly bumped his head and injured his right shoulder.
Paul would go on to play through the injury through the rest of the series. It clearly affected him the most early on, including his return in Game 1 before two straight losses to the Lakers to put Phoenix down 2-1.
In need of a huge win for Game 4, the Suns got just that, beating the Lakers 100-92. Paul looked the most like himself he had up to that point, scoring 18 points after totaling 20 in the first three contests. All five Suns starters were in double figures and Cam Payne off the bench.
The game added another injury wrinkle when Lakers star forward/center Anthony Davis did not play in the second half after straining his left groin.
Davis went on to miss Game 5, the first blowout of the series, a dominant 115-85 victory for the Suns. Booker had his second sensational game of the series, recording 18 of his 30 points in the first quarter. Payne continued to be a factor as he had all series, contributing 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting off the bench.