The Los Angeles Clippers did again what they have done throughout these playoffs on Thursday night against the Suns, and that’s win Game 3.
Behind Paul George’s 27 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists, Reggie Jackson’s 23 points, and Ivica Zubac’s 15 points and 16 rebounds. The Clippers defeated Phoenix 106-92 at Staples Center to snap the Suns’ nine-game winning streak in the postseason.
Deandre Ayton led Phoenix was 18 points and nine rebounds.
Phoenix still leads this Western Conference finals series 2-1, and Game 4 is on Saturday night at Staples Center.
Los Angeles has been down 0-2 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and while it’s not ideal to be down 0-2, the Clippers, who were again without Kawhi Leonard(sprained knee), appear to play better when dealing with adversity.
“I don’t like it. I’ll tell you that (laughing),” Clippers head coach Ty Lue said about being down 0-2. “But you know, we’ve been a resilient team all season, all year long… Our guys just keep grinding, keep fighting. We know our back’s against the wall 0-2, but we never give in.”
Jackson added: “This team is resilient. We always believed. We never give in. We never say die. Like I said, we never really have doubt. We continue to just chip away, try to chip away, try to figure out ways we can be better, and try to figure out ways to impose our will on our opponents. This team is just hungry. It’s always hungry to get better.”
The Suns got star point guard Chris Paul back on Thursday night after he missed the first two games of this series due to health and safety protocols. The 11-time All-Star had 15 points and 12 assists but shot 5/19 from the field.
Paul knows that he and the Suns have to be better if they want to win Game 4.
“They just outplayed us tonight,” Paul said. “We didn’t make shots. You could tell they had a lot more energy. I got to be better. I shot terrible. I’ve got to pick up the pace. We’ll be ready, Game 4.”
Phoenix backup point guard Cam Payne left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. According to Paul, Phoenix missed Payne.
“We missed Cam Payne,” Paul said. “I’ve been at home watching these last two games, and I saw the pace that he was playing with. Late in the game, we started to do a little bit.”
Devin Booker, who is playing with a broken nose that he suffered in Game 2, also struggled with his shot in Game 3. Booker finished with 15 points but was 5/21 from the field.
According to Booker. the broken nose did not impact his performance
“The nose feels fine,” he said. “We just lost the game.”
If they want to get Game 4, the Suns will have to play better, which means that they have to get more out of their starting backcourt of Booker and Paul, who shot a combined 10-40 from the field in Game 3. That probably won’t happen again in this series, but eliminating the Clippers won’t be easy, as seen in these playoffs.
-Terance Mann, who started for Marcus Morris Sr. (came off the bench in Game 3), had another great third quarter. Mann, who scored 20 of his career-high 39 points against Utah in the third quarter in Game 6 of the team’s series-clinching win over the Jazz, scored 10 of his 12 points in the third quarter on Thursday night and helped Los Angeles take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter.
–According to ESPN’s Stats & Info, Paul George, who had his 16th consecutive 20-point game to begin the playoffs on Thursday night, became the fourth player(Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade) in the last 20 seasons with a 20-point streak that long to begin the playoffs.