The match-up that didn’t happen last year in the Western Conference Finals took place in the Phoenix Suns fourth game of the early season, and the eventual champion of last year the Golden State Warriors was the test for a Tuesday night in the valley at FootPrint Center.
Star power all over the court as the game went the way expected with the two teams exchanging big shots early, and the Suns established their advantage with Center DeAndre Ayton in the paint.
When it comes to playing the warriors the shot of choice will be exclusively the three ball, the warrior took 35 threes while the Suns cranked up 29 and the number of made threes did not play in the favor of the warriors.
Ten three’s made by the Warriors equals a good day on defense for the opposing team, the Suns don’t take nearly as many three’s as a team but managed to make 12 on the night to outshot the Champs in their favorite department.
Guard Devin Booker put his stamp on this game from start to finish, knowing where to get his shots and also where to set up shots for his teammates, his game has evolved to where it looks almost effortless on the court.
Coming into the game Booker was scoring 30 plus in the first three games, and this one would be no different as he drops 34 points and added 7 assists in 35 minutes on the night.
His plus-minus on the night probably was the main story of the night, as he was a plus-32 on the floor.
Most of that stat had Warrior Guard Klay Thompson on the opposite side, as Booker torched through the first two quarters it began to brew something between him and Klay.
Halftime the Suns led 72-66 and the second quarter would be the most competitive on the night as the Suns won the quarter 37-35 controlling the glass and the warrior threes.
The third quarter is where the sparks began, the Suns just dominated with a 33-20 difference with their defense leading the way and frustrating the Warriors in the process.
Klay Thompson and Devin Booker began a series of possessions where they were jawing at each other, and making plays against each other that fueled the confrontation.
Although Klay was only 1 of 8 from the field for only 2 points up to that point, he did make a few good defensive plays on Booker. One in particular that continued the jawing was a block of Bookers shot from the side, and after that the trash talk increased and continued through a timeout where some choice words were exchanged where one man was calm and the other went irate.
There are words that are crossed-the-line words that sometimes cause a person to react as they have never reacted, I don’t know if that was the case last night as we clearly see Klay making reference to the rings he has pointing to his hand.
Then during the timeout, Klay lost it and went ballistic on everyone that came in his path including a referee that he had words with.
Both players received technicals and after the type of frustrating shooting night Thompson was having he was not ready to calm down his anger.
Received his second tech and went off the floor still talking and pointing to his hand directed over at Booker and the Suns bench, then he stopped one more time to make a push towards the Suns bench and was, of course, held back and led to the locker room.
The entire time Klay was jawing and putting on his angry display, Devin Booker stayed as calm and collected as his game has looked all season long, during the ruckus at the timeout when the confrontation started and Klay and he bumped each other, Booker just walked off as if Klay were not even standing there yelling words at him.
It just shows just how focused Booker is on his craft, and he mentioned that afterward during his press conference.
The third quarter was very entertaining, to say the least, as there were a record 7 technicals called and an ejection, and the Suns outscored the Warriors 20-9 on that run that led to the altercation.
That run put the game away and the Warriors seemed to have lost their fight, being outscored in the second half 62-39.
After the game Booker was asked about what was said between him and Klay that caused him to react as such, Booker would not give us the words he said to Klay, but kept referring to Klay “Pointing to his rings” when media prodded for more detail “he said he has four rings, and he does” was Booker’s response with a smile.
He did elude that there may have been something about the comparison of their games from the past, and Devin reiterated that “our games are totally different, so there is no comparison” and perhaps maybe that triggered Klay and his response to his rings was to win and close the argument.
He may be a champion with rings, but Booker made it clear “I will never back down” and he stood his ground and proved to be the better man and player in this marquee matchup.
Suns ended up finishing with a 134-105 blowout second half, sending their record to 3-1 in the early season, shutting up most of the chatter about this team not being one of the teams atop the west this season.
Damion Lee gave love to his old teammates after the game, and he and his family Steph Curry exchanged jerseys.