LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Devin Booker recorded 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists to help the hosts Phoenix Suns steamroll the Los Angeles Lakers 115-85 on Tuesday night (June 1) and take a 3-2 lead in the National Basketball Association Western Conference first-round series.
Cameron Payne added 16 points off the bench and the Suns led by as many as 36 points while notching their second consecutive win in the seven-game series.
LeBron James registered 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Lakers, who played without Anthony Davis (groin).
Game 6 is Thursday night at Los Angeles.
Chris Paul of the Suns re-injured his right shoulder while battling for rebounding position with 6min 47sec left in the third quarter and did not return. He was officially ruled out early in the fourth quarter due to a contusion.
Paul had nine points, six assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes on a night in which Phoenix tallied 29 assists and committed just four turnovers. Los Angeles had 16 turnovers.
The Suns’ domination included a 30-point half-time lead that was the largest in franchise play-off history, while it marked Los Angeles’ second-largest half-time play-off deficit. The Lakers trailed the Portland Trail Blazers 75-41 in a first-round play-off game on April 23, 1992.
Mikal Bridges tallied 13 points for Phoenix, who shot 45.7 per cent from the field and made 14 of 42 from three-point range.
Kyle Kuzma added 15 points for the Lakers, who connected on 34.5 per cent of their shots, including 12 of 35 from behind the arc.
The Lakers led 10-5 in the opening minutes before Phoenix scored the next 16 points to take the lead for good.
Booker scored 18 points in the opening stanza as the Suns held a 34-26 lead entering the second period.
Phoenix began the second quarter with a 16-1 burst, opening up a 50-27 lead on Paul’s basket with 6:37 left.
Deandre Ayton’s basket with 48 seconds remaining gave the Suns a 66-36 half-time lead. Phoenix outscored Los Angeles 32-10 in the stanza.
The Suns increased the lead to 36 points on Booker’s basket with 7:30 left in the third quarter, shortly before Paul was injured. But the loss of their floor leader did not bother Phoenix as they continued to lead comfortably while finishing off the rout.
Los Angeles’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (knee) played 15 scoreless minutes before leaving. He missed Game 4 due to the injury.
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