Suns, Knicks even series, Celtics go up 2-0

by mcardinal

Rob Issa, FISM News


Last night Devin Booker stepped up to help the Phoenix Suns get even with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Booker scored 38 points, Kevin Durant had 25, and the Suns defeated the Clippers 123-109 on Tuesday night in Game 2 to tie their Western Conference first-round series.

After losing with Durant for the first time since the two-time NBA Finals MVP joined the team, the Suns bounced back thanks to an exceptional performance by Booker.

The Clippers had a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter, but the Suns rallied and Booker hit a 3-pointer just before halftime to tie the score.

The three-time All-Star scored 18 points in the third quarter. 

“He’s an all-around player,” Durant said about Booker. “He can do everything at an elite level on a basketball court.”

Kawhi Leonard led Los Angeles with 31 points, and Russell Westbrook added 28 points.

“We know it is going to be a tough series,” Westbrook said. “They came back and took care of business tonight.”

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night in Los Angeles.

“People talk about adjustments all the time and we make them,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But sometimes basketball is just being able to sit down and guard the ball, keep your man from getting to the basket and contesting the shot.”

In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 119-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks and a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Derrick White had 26 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks for the Celtics, earning high praise from his teammates after an outstanding all-around effort.

“We’re so much more of a dynamic team when D-White is asserting himself and being aggressive and not being passive,” Tatum said. These last two games (White) being aggressive, making the right play, attacking the rim, and not necessarily waiting makes us that much more of a better team.”  

Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 29 points and Trae Young had 24. Game 3 is Friday night in Atlanta.

“I can be better,” said Young, who had five turnovers and shot 9 of 22 from the field and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc. “I didn’t shoot the ball really well. I had some turnovers where I was just driving and it just left my hands. But I’m going to be better at home.”

In Cleveland, Darius Garland scored 32 points and the Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 107-90 in Game 2 to even their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Garland had 15 points in the second quarter and 26 in the first half as Cleveland built a 20-point halftime lead and cruised in the fourth quarter. 

“That’s the All-Star we know, and it was good to see,” Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell said of Garland. “He came out with a purpose. There was just a different look in his eye.”

Caris LeVert scored 24 points off the bench and Mitchell added 17 and a career playoff-high 13 assists for the Cavaliers. 

Julius Randle scored 22 points and Jalen Brunson had 20 for the Knicks. The series shifts to New York’s Madison Square Garden for Game 3 on Friday night. 

“You know what to expect,” Randle said. “It’s the Garden.”

In other NBA news, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was suspended for one game without pay for stepping on Domantas Sabonis’ chest during a loss to Sacramento in Game 2 on Monday.

Green will miss Game 3 Thursday night as the defending NBC champion Warriors return home down 2-0 in the Western Conference series against the Kings. 

“The suspension was based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts,” the NBA said in a statement. 

The Warriors haven’t been down 2-0 in any series during their previous 28 rounds with star guard Stephen Curry.