National Basketball Association
Phoenix 99, L.A. Lakers 90
When: 3:30 PM ET, Sunday, May 23, 2021
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
#55 Bill Kennedy, #71 Rodney Mott, #5 Kane Fitzgerald, #27 Mitchell Ervin
Devin Booker recorded 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 99-90 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers in the opening game of the Western Conference first-round series on Sunday afternoon.
Deandre Ayton added 21 points on 10-of-11 shooting and collected 16 rebounds for the second-seeded Suns, who were playing in their first postseason game since 2010.
LeBron James had 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday in Phoenix.
Suns star Chris Paul played 36 minutes and had seven points and eight assists. Paul injured his right shoulder in the second quarter when teammate Cameron Johnson clipped his arm. Paul missed parts of the second and third quarters.
Dennis Schroder scored 14 points for Los Angeles. Anthony Davis had 13 on just 5-of-16 shooting while Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell added 12 apiece for the Lakers.
The Suns shot 46.5 percent from the field, including 9 of 28 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles made 43.4 percent of its shots and were 7 of 26 from behind the arc.
The Lakers trailed by 13 with 3:23 to play before Alex Caruso made a 3-pointer 17 seconds later. But there would be no frantic comeback bid as Davis and Caruso missed 3-pointers on the next two Los Angeles possessions before Phoenix's Jae Crowder hit a short jumper with 1:35 left as the Suns closed it out.
Booker scored 17 first-half points to help Phoenix hold a 53-45 lead.
The Suns led despite not attempting a single free throw while Los Angeles was 11 of 17 from the line.
Overall, the Lakers hit 17 of 28 free throws, while Phoenix was 10 of 12.
Phoenix was leading 38-29 when Paul initially sustained his injury and left with 9:19 left in the half. He returned with 5:32 remaining and the Suns again leading by nine.
Phoenix increased its lead to 71-56 on a putback by Mikal Bridges with 6:04 left in the third quarter. Just 59 seconds later, Paul again left the court to have the shoulder worked on and the Lakers took advantage and cut their deficit to seven.
By the time Paul returned with 1:17 left, the Suns were leading by 13, and Booker added two free throws with 11.1 seconds to play as the Suns took an 81-68 advantage into the final stanza.
Booker's 3-pointer gave Phoenix an 86-70 lead with 11:04 remaining before Los Angeles scored the next seven but the defending champions were unable to mount a full charge.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
LeBron James 18
Devin Booker 34
LeBron James 10
Devin Booker 8
Andre Drummond 9
Deandre Ayton 16
Montrezl Harrell 4
||Free Throws Made
Devin Booker 5
LeBron James 3
Mikal Bridges 2
Anthony Davis 3
Deandre Ayton 1
Team Stats Summary
Phoenix will play their next game at home against L.A. Lakers. The Suns have a W/L % of .680 after a win and .773 after a loss.
L.A. Lakers will play their next game on the road against Phoenix. The Lakers have a W/L % of .595 after a win and .567 after a loss.