Rising Suns have high hopes after dethroning champion Lakers

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The second-seeded Suns won three straight over the Lakers, whose injury problems didn’t completely account for the Suns’ excellent play in the final 2 1/2 games. Anthony Davis barely contributed for LA during that stretch, but Booker and Paul put on a show that would have been trouble for any opponent.

The Lakers had the NBA’s best defense in the regular season, but Booker dropped 30 points in Game 5 before erupting for 22 in the first quarter of Game 6. He barely slowed his pace thereafter, hitting eight 3-pointers in an all-around floor game that finished off LA.

These Suns aren’t the run-and-gun showmen of the Steve Nash/Amar’e Stoudemire era, but they’ve got a solid supporting cast around Booker, Ayton and Paul. They were too much for the Lakers, who are fairly deep themselves.

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Coach Monty Williams was already thinking extensively about the Nuggets in the moments after the clinching victory in the coach’s first career playoff series triumph. But when prompted, Williams acknowledged a level of accomplishment, even if it’s fleeting for the coaches.

“You do feel a level of excitement, because winning in the NBA is really hard as it relates to one game, but to win a series, you have to enjoy that,” Williams said. “We’ve moved the program to a place where we want to be, but at the same time, my mind is already moved towards the next thing we have to do, and that’s preparing for Denver, right? That’s just my mindset.”

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