Kevin Durant, Devin Booker combine for 61 as Suns take 3-1 series lead over Clippers

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    Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Devin Booker added 30 and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, who were without Kawhi Leonard, 112-100, Saturday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

    The Clippers, who lost Game 3 by five points, again made a strong run with Leonard watching from the bench. He has missed two straight games with a sprained right knee. They’re also without Paul George, who hasn’t played since March 21 because of the same injury.

    Russell Westbrook carried the Clippers in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points, including nine in a row to twice pull his team within two points.

    Westbrook finished with a game-high 37 points. Norman Powell added 14 points, and Terance Mann had 13 off the bench.

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    Kevin Durant and Devin Booker

    Kevin Durant (35) and Devin Booker (1) of the Phoenix Suns react to the bench after a stop in play during the first quarter of Game 4 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs at Crypto.com Arena April 22, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (Harry How/Getty Images)

    Game 5 is Tuesday in Phoenix.

    As the fourth quarter wound down, the Clippers ran out of gas.

    Chris Paul, the 37-year-old former Clipper, had 12 points in the fourth, hitting big jumpers from all over the court each time LA threatened.

    Paul finished with 19 points and nine assists. Booker had nine rebounds and seven assists. Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

    Looking ageless at 34, Durant scored 11 points in the third, when the Suns erased an early eight-point deficit.

    Kevin Durant

    Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant stands on the court during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    76ERS COMPLETE SWEEP OF NETS WITH DOMINANT SECOND HALF

    The Clippers scored nine straight points to open the third and take an eight-point lead. But Durant scored 11 points in the period, capped by a 3-pointer that sent the Suns into the fourth leading 83-78.

    The Suns trailed by 11 points early in the second, when they outscored the Clippers 25-17, and led 48-47 at the break.

    Durant picked up his third foul in the period, while Westbrook, Powell and Marcus Morris already had two fouls apiece for the Clippers.

    Kevin Durant high fives Devin Booker

    Kevin Durant (35) of the Phoenix Suns high-fives Devin Booker (1) during a game against the LA Clippers during Game 4 of the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs April 22, 2023, at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles.  (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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    TIP-INS

    Suns: Cam Payne (low back soreness) has yet to play in the postseason.

    Clippers: Got outrebounded 49-33. … Bench outscored the Suns’ reserves, 26-9.

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