Devin Booker scored a game-high 35 points and Chris Paul made history by becoming the third player in NBA history to reach 11,000 assists as the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 112-95 on Sunday evening at Crypto.com Arena.
Paul joined Jason Kidd and John Stockton as the only players in NBA history to reach that number of assists.
“I honestly didn’t have a clue until I checked out of the game,” said Paul, who finished with seven points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
“It’s amazing,” Suns (2-1) coach Monty Williams said. “I look at him and I’m like, ‘holy smokes, I get to coach Chris Paul.”
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The future Hall of Fame point guard found Deandre Ayton on an alley-oop pass on the Suns second possession of the game to give him 11,000 assists in the first period.
“There’s been a lot of firsts here at the Staples Center,” said Paul on the former arena he played six years in. “Well, Crypto arena.”
Marcus Morris led the Clippers (2-1) with 22 points while John Wall added 17 and Paul George finished with 16. Kawhi Leonard played only 21 minutes off the bench in his second game of the season and added 11 points and six rebounds.
“I feel great, other than me shooting free throws like Shaq. That’s pissing me off, but other than that, I feel good,” Wall said after going 1-for-5 from the free throw line. “I got my speed, I got my rhythm. Just trying to play the right way, push the pace for these guys.”
Los Angeles shot 28.1 percent from three-point range (9-32) and only 70 percent from the free throw line on (14-20) attempts.
Reggie Jackson played through a groin injury and was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting.
“Reggie has to be more aggressive… Right now, he hasn’t been attacking and more aggressive. We have to get him back to normal Reggie,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said on his starting point guard.
The Suns also outrebounded the Clippers (49-43) and finished with 29 assists compared to only 16 for LA.
”We got some room to grow,” Leonard said. ”I didn’t like how some of the times we weren’t in the flow, the offense was very stagnant to me, and we got to get better on the defensive end by rebounding the basketball.”
Phoenix led by as many as 22 in the fourth as Los Angeles was unable to get any closer than 10 after a three-pointer by George late in the third with 2:30 remaining.
Booker added two more three-pointers in the fourth period as the Suns cruised to a 112-95 victory.
“Book, you could just see his energy,” Paul said. “He got us going and I think we just kept it going.”
The Clippers will next travel to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder City on Tuesday and Thursday during a two-game road trip.