The Phoenix Suns followed up their blowout win over the Lakers in Game 5 with a nearly identical first half performance in Game 6, jumping all over the Lakers from the opening tip in L.A. and holding on for a 113-100 win to close out a 4-2 series win and send the defending champs packing.
Leading the way or Phoenix was Devin Booker, who had 22 points in the first quarter to outscore the Lakers by eight points by himself, as L.A. had no answers for the Suns’ superstar and no answers for the Phoenix defense early.
— NBA (@NBA) June 4, 2021
Contributing to L.A.’s problems was Anthony Davis being unable to do much of anything in his five minutes of playing time before he checked out with too much pain from his groin strain to continue. That he even played at all became a hot topic of conversation given how immobile he looked on the court during his time out there. Given the stakes of the closeout game, the Lakers looked lifeless in the first half, trailing by as many as 29 and 21 going into the halftime break. Booker finished the first half with 33 points, as he hit shot after shot to put the Lakers in a massive hole, and got some big help from Jae Crowder, who hit six three-pointers on the night for 18 points as he finally came to life.
Unsurprisingly, the Lakers and LeBron James made a move in the third quarter, reeling the Suns in to trail by just 13 going into the fourth quarter as they tightened up defensively and finally got going downhill, led by James putting his head down and getting to the rim.
Stay with the fight.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 4, 2021
In the fourth quarter, they got the Suns lead down to as few as 10, but for every run the Lakers made, the Suns had an answer, whether from Booker, a timely three from one of their role players, or the steady hand of Chris Paul who had just eight points but dished out 12 assists and hit this big bucket to push the Phoenix lead back out to 17.
6:42 to play on TNT pic.twitter.com/tFO9fmURXE
— NBA (@NBA) June 4, 2021
Booker closed things out to end the night with a new playoff career-high 47 points on 15-of-22 shooting and 8-of-10 from three (the eight threes a new career high in any game for Booker) to go along with 11 rebounds and three assists. It was an outstanding, star-confirming performance from Booker in his first closeout game experience, showing his killer instinct to jump on the listless Lakers early to bury them to a point they simply couldn’t come back from.
For the Lakers, it’s a disappointing end to a disappointing season, marred by injuries including the one that ultimately proved too costly to overcome in Davis’ groin. Still, the Suns deserve full credit for their play in the series, as many lesser teams have failed to put away LeBron James-led squads, no matter how banged up, in the past. Phoenix now advances to play Denver in what should be an exciting second round series between the presumptive MVP in Nikola Jokic and a young superstar in Devin Booker who is showing just how good he can be in the postseason.