Phoenix Suns flamethrower Devin Booker pulled up to Staples Center in an all-black Buick Grand National and handed the reigning champs—LeBron James’ ailing Los Angeles Lakers—a first-round exit that set social media on fire.
Suffice it to say, it’s Booker’s time now.
Exploding for 47 points and 11 boards, Booker and the Suns ended the Laker’s postseason run last night with a 113-100 victory in Game 6 of the opening series, marking the first playoff series win for the organization in over a decade.
After decisively taking Game 5 by 30, Booker got off to an electric start, posting 18 points from behind the arc in the first quarter, tying the NBA playoff record for most 3-pointers made in a quarter (6).
DEVIN BOOKER HAS 6 THREES IN THE 1Q pic.twitter.com/TZ9467VfX0
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 4, 2021
Booker, known throughout his career as a tough shot-maker, knocked down 68.2 percent of his shots from the field, including going 8-10 from 3-point range. He’s the first Suns player with a 40-10 playoff performance since former power forward Amar’e Stoudemire dropped 42 points and snatched 11 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers in May 2010, according to StatMuse.
The young Suns squad, emboldened by veteran leader Chris Paul, dismantled the NBA’s most efficient defensive team after Lakers mainstay Anthony Davis was pulled five and a half minutes of the game.
Davis, having (visible) discomfort with his injured groin, attempted to battle through the pain but said after the game that his body wouldn’t allow him to.
Booker, taking advantage of Davis’ absence, hit from every spot imaginable on the court. Escaping defenders time and time again with silky smooth step backs and three after three, Booker made sure to deplete any momentum the Lakers were building.
Though LeBron had his best game of the series, tallying 29 points, nine rebounds, seven steals, two blocks and two steals (while only turning the ball over nine time) in a team-high 41 minutes, it wasn’t enough to stop Phoenix from handing him the first first-round playoff exit of his storybook career.
The 24-year-old, a longtime fan of Lakers great Kobe Bryant, channeled his Mamba Mentality while glancing at the #8 and #24 jerseys that hung above the court brightly lit.
“I know [Kobe] was here tonight, I know he’s in the building and I know he’s proud,” Booker said.
If anything would garner the respect of the Mamba, it’s a signature playoff performance in the house his late mentor helped build.
The second-seed Suns will face the third-seed Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, starting next Monday.