Suns overcome slow start, beat Clippers in Game 2

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives around Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon (10)...
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives around Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)(Matt York | AP)
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 9:33 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 9:54 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) — The Phoenix Suns shrugged off a slow start and took Game 2 at the Footprint Center on Tuesday 123-109 tie the Western Conference first-round series. The team upped their defensive intensity, plus Devin Booker and Kevin Durant combined for 63 points to lead the way for the offense. Game 3 is on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Suns pushed their lead to 13, but by the five-minute mark, it had dwindled to seven. Suns and Clippers went back in forth before Phoenix pulled away. Booker had 38 points and nine assists, while Durant had 25 points on 10-19 shooting.

Torrey Craig was a spark for the Suns when they needed some three-point shooting. He made five threes as part of his 17 points. Deandre Ayton had 14 points and 13 boards. The Suns bench still struggled, scoring only 13 points compared to the Clippers’ 30.

The Suns started the third quarter on a 6-0 run, sparking a timeout from the Clippers. Phoenix outscored LA by five points in the quarter, thanks to 18 points for Booker.

Things were looking bad for the Suns in the second quarter, down by as many as 13 points. The Clippers had eight three-pointers compared to just two halfway through the quarter. But the Suns battled back, and with Durant getting more involved, the team closed the quarter on a 23-10 run. Booker hit a three before the buzzer for a 59-59 tie at halftime.

The Suns started the first quarter with five quick points, but then the Clippers answered with an 8-0. Craig got a technical foul for arguing a loose ball foul. Both Booker and Durant had six points each and played all 12 minutes. The Suns only shot 2-7 from three, while the Clippers were 6-13.

Kawhi Leonard led Los Angeles with 31 points after he scored 38 in Game 1. Russell Westbrook added 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting.


Chris Paul’s archnemesis was carrying a whistle Tuesday, not dribbling a basketball. The point guard had his personal 13-game playoff losing streak snapped when referee Scott Foster is on the floor. The long-running feud has lasted years with Paul criticizing Foster multiple times. Paul finished the game with 16 points and eight assists.