Devin Booker scored 47 points, including 25 in the third quarter, as the Phoenix Suns roared back from a double-digit, second-half deficit on Tuesday and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with a 136-130 series-clinching victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
Kevin Durant scored 31 points and Deandre Ayton added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the No. 4 seed Suns, who recovered from a Game 1 defeat to roll through the remainder of the series by winning the next four contests. Phoenix is set to face the No. 1-seeded Denver Nuggets in the second round, which starts Saturday in Denver.
Norman Powell scored 27 points and Ivica Zubac added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the short-handed Clippers, who played without Paul George (knee) the entire series and lost Kawhi Leonard (knee) following Game 2. Los Angeles nearly erased a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Mason Plumlee had 20 points and Russell Westbrook added 14 for the Clippers, who were considered a title contender at the start of the season but lacked consistency as George and Leonard struggled with injuries.
The Clippers carved out a 71-61 lead early in the third quarter before the Suns went to work. Phoenix grabbed an 80-79 lead with 6:18 remaining in the third after a Booker dunk. It was Phoenix’s first lead since 6:18 remained in the first half.
Booker then supplied 12 points in an 18-0 Suns run that gave them a 104-86 lead with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter. Phoenix outscored Los Angeles 50-24 in the period by shooting 63 percent (17 of 27) while taking a 111-94 lead.
Westbrook had a flagrant foul late in the third quarter as the game began to slip away and Bones Hyland had another early in the fourth period for Los Angeles. But the Clippers rallied with consecutive 3-pointers from Nicolas Batum, Powell, Terance Mann and Batum again to pull within 128-125 with 3:19 remaining.
The Clippers were within 132-130 with under two minutes remaining but could not get any closer as Durant scored the last four points of the game. Chris Paul had 15 points and seven assists for Phoenix, while Josh Okogie added 11 points.
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