The Phoenix Suns approached Game 1 with the energy of a team that hadn't made the playoffs in 10 years. The Los Angeles Lakers approached Game 1 with the attitude of "we have six more of these to try and win this series."
The Suns handled the Lakers to take a 1-0 series lead behind two monster playoff debut performances from their young tandem of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Booker's 34 points were the most by a player in a playoff debut in franchise history, while Ayton's 16 rebounds also set a franchise record for a player making their playoff debut.
TAKEAWAYS: Booker stars in playoff debut as Suns handle Lakers
Ayton's efforts on the boards were accompanied by 21 points, shooting a near-perfect 10-for-11 from the field, dominating the Lakers and All-Star forward Anthony Davis in the paint.
Davis finished the game with only 13 points, shooting 5-for-16 (31.3%) from the field and 0-for-2 from 3. His scoring output tied a playoff career-low, while shooting 31.3 percent from the field marked the worst field goal percentage of his playoff career.
Ayton (and Jae Crowder)'s physicality on that end of the floor never allowed Davis to truly get comfortable inside, settling for the majority of his field goal attempts.
On the glass, Ayton had more offensive rebounds (8) than Davis had total rebounds (7).
All-in-all, it was a forgettable performance from the eight-time All-Star, and he took full responsibility for it.
"It's on me," he told the media after the game. "There's no way we're winning a game, let alone the series, with the way I played."
That type of accountability could go a long way in trying to turn this series around, and superstar teammate LeBron James appreciated that ownership.
"It's never just one guy, but I love when AD puts that pressure on himself," he told the media postgame.
It's worth noting, incase you have forgotten: the Lakers lost Game 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers in last year's postseason before going on to win four consecutive games and advance out of the first round.
Can they repeat that same history against this fiesty Suns team?
It all starts with trying to even the series in Game 2 on Tuesday, May 25 at 10 p.m. ET.
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