There were elements of the entire Phoenix Suns season found in a hard fought but still foundering 115-110 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in their first round NBA Western Conference series.
The Phoenix Suns went through a lot of ups and downs during the regular season, particularly during the dark days of winter when Chris Paul and Devin Booker, among others, missed significant playing time with injuries. A theme during that time, that has still been hard to shake was poor starts and that is how the Suns’ first game of the 2023 playoffs started.
Gordon goes off as the Suns go cold in the first quarter
The first quarter started as you might have thought with both teams tight and the first bucket not coming until almost two minutes into the game. A deep three from CP3 and a dunk from Deandre Ayton were early highlights from the Suns. After a Booker bucket put the Suns up 10 to 8, the Clippers found a rhythm that left Phoenix fans with a familiar sinking feeling.
After that Booker jumper the Clippers went off outscoring Phoenix 22 to eight over the final seven minutes of the quarter. Leaving the Suns down by a dozen 30 to 18 after one quarter. The Clippers were paced by Eric Gordon who had 12 points, including back-to-back threes during the Los Angeles run. More than anything, what hurt Phoenix was woeful shooting, going just 7 for 21 from the field in the first.
The worst part for Phoenix was having to play the entire game from behind, which was not how anyone in the valley wanted the playoffs to being.