Booker, Durant mix for 86 factors in Suns’ Sport 3 win
PHOENIX — Devin Booker has carried an enormous offensive load for the Phoenix Suns in these playoffs, averaging greater than 35 factors per recreation regardless of defenders draped throughout him in most video games.
Confronted with an almost must-win recreation on Friday evening, he someway did much more.
Booker scored 47 factors, Kevin Durant added 39 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 121-114 to chop Denver’s result in 2-1 of their Western Convention semifinal sequence.
“It’s all I do know, that is all I dreamed of as a child,” Booker mentioned. “I’ve devoted lots of my life, moved away from my household once I was younger, to pursue being in these moments.”
Booker had one other ultra-efficient scoring evening, taking pictures 20 of 25 from the sector, together with 5 of 8 from 3-point vary.
Durant shot simply 12 of 31 from the sector, however made 14 of 16 free throws.
“They knew what we needed to do to win this recreation,” Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned.
The Suns will attempt to even the sequence in Sport 4 on Sunday in Phoenix.
The Suns took a 90-88 lead into the fourth quarter, retaking the lead after the Nuggets erased a 15-point halftime deficit.
Phoenix scored the primary 9 factors of the fourth — together with the ultimate two on Durant’s fast-break dunk — to push their benefit to 99-88.
They wouldn’t path within the fourth quarter. Durant began 1 for 9 from the sector however made 11 of his last 22.
“It’s irritating not making photographs, as a result of that’s what I’m paid to do,” Durant mentioned. “However there additionally comes a time if you’ve simply acquired to determine it out and push by way of it.”
Denver’s Nikola Jokic — who completed second within the MVP voting on Tuesday to Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid — completed with 30 factors, 17 assists and 17 rebounds.
Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 32 factors, whereas Michael Porter Jr. added 21 factors and 12 rebounds. Murray mentioned he was dissatisfied he didn’t contribute extra down the stretch.
“I had some nice seems to be on the finish of the sport and that might have saved us proper there,” Murray mentioned. “I really feel like they pulled away due to that. I’ve to be extra locked in, extra relaxed down the stretch.”
Denver coach Michael Malone mentioned his workforce performed effectively at instances, however that the protection in opposition to Booker was “unacceptable.”
Booker repeatedly acquired close to the rim for brief jumpers or layups, which contributed to the 20 of 25 taking pictures evening.
“I wasn’t a math main however that could be a actually excessive share,” Malone mentioned. “We’ve to be so much higher.”
The Suns put Cameron Payne within the beginning lineup to take the place of 12-time All-Star Chris Paul, who suffered a strained left groin within the Sport 2 loss and didn’t play on Friday.
Payne — a playoff hero for just a few video games two seasons in the past when Paul was out — scored seven factors, together with a giant 3-pointer early within the fourth.
Williams additionally shook up the bench rotation, giving Terrence Ross, Jock Landale and TJ Warren extra minutes.
Landale completed with six factors and 9 rebounds, whereas Warren hit a pair essential buckets within the last minutes to assist the Suns hold the lead.
Booker scored 27 factors within the first half on 12-of-15 taking pictures to push the Suns forward 67-52 by halftime. Durant added 21, together with 11 factors on free throws.