At times in the playoffs, Clippers F Paul George has gotten a lot of heat for some of his performances. However, he silenced many people with his performance in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on Monday night.
George scored a playoff career-high 41 points on 15-20 shooting (3-of-6 3FG) to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds and team-high six assists as the Clippers avoided elimination and defeated the Suns 116-102.
The Suns lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is on Wednesday night at Staples Center
George, who scored 20 points(7-8 shooting, 3-3 3FG) in the third quarter, has scored 20-plus points in all 18 of the Clippers’ games this postseason.
George never seems to get the credit he deserves, and when asked if he feels he gets picked on, George said the following:
“I do. And it’s the honest truth. It’s a fact,” George said. “But I can’t worry about that. It comes with the job, I guess. But it is what it is. I still try to go and dominate, whether I’m shooting the ball well or not shooting the ball well. I still try to dominate, just the whole game in general. To me, it doesn’t come down to just scoring. It’s just being able to play both ends, rebound, and make plays for others. And so I’m beyond that. I’m beyond that. I am who I am. I wish I could shoot 80 percent, 75 percent, on a nightly basis, but it’s not realistic… They can judge me on what they want to. That part don’t matter to me. I’m going to go out there and hoop and give it everything I got.”
DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 15 points in 11 minutes off the bench on Monday, thinks it’s ridiculous how people talk negatively about George.
“I don’t know where this trolling bull—- has come from where the internet controls the narratives about these players,” Cousins said. “It’s becoming foolish, man. Like I said earlier in the year, that’s one of the most special players to ever lace his shoes up. Give this dude his flowers, man. I don’t understand the slander. It’s becoming quite silly now. Respect these players, man. Respect these greats.”
Despite the loss, Chris Paul, who had 22 points and eight assists in Game 5, remains confident.
We know we’ll go in there, a place where we won last time,” Paul said. “We know they’re going to be excited and ready to go, so we’ll be ready,”
If it has not been clear by now, it should be clear to everybody that the Clippers won’t be easy to eliminate. Even without Kawhi Leonard(sprained knee) and Ivica Zubac(MCL sprain), Los Angeles keeps finding ways.
Now, the pressure is on the Suns, and if you’re Phoenix, you don’t want to be in a position where you have to play a Game 7, so they want to end this series in Game 6.
-Devin Booker scored a team-high 31 points tonight to go along with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Booker finished 9-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Tonight marked Booker’s seventh 30+ point game of the postseason, as he’s now averaging 37.3 points in three possible closeout games these playoffs.
-In the Suns’ three closeout opportunities this season, Devin Booker has totaled 112 points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the 6th-most points by any player through his team’s first three closeout opportunities of a postseason.
MOST POINTS SCORED BY A PLAYER THROUGH TEAM’S FIRST THREE CLOSEOUT GAMES OF A POSTSEASON
Year Player Total Points
1989 Michael Jordan 132
1962 Wilt Chamberlin 125
1988 Michael Jordan 121
1962 Elgin Baylor 120
1992 Michael Jordan 119
2021 Devin Booker 112
-Reggie Jackson reached 20-plus points tonight for the third-straight game tonight and ninth time this postseason, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (4-of-7 3FG). Jackson added 5 rebounds and 3 assists for the Clippers.
-Marcus Morris Sr. scored 22 points for the Clippers tonight, his fourth 20- point game of this postseason, and the most he’s scored in this series.
The Phoenix Suns are about to do the improbable. The Suns are one win away from getting to the NBA Finals after defeating the Clippers 84-80 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday night at Staples Center.
This was a ’90s style playoff game as both teams went cold in the fourth quarter. The two teams combined for 29 points in the fourth. Phoenix shot 21% from the floor in the final period, while the Clippers were held to 16% shooting. After the Clippers cut the lead to 71-70 following a Paul George free-throw with just over ten minutes left, the two teams did not score for over three minutes. Los Angeles cut the lead to one on several occasions but could not get over the hump.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Clippers shot 0-12 in the 4th quarter on shots that could’ve tied the game or taken the lead. That’s the most such attempts without a make in the 4th quarter of a game over the last 25 postseasons.
“I think it was an ugly game from beginning to end, honestly,” Devin Booker, who led the Suns with 25 points before fouling out in the fourth, said after the game. “if you’re talking from a scoring aspect, but we dug in and got stops, and it’s the playoffs – any way you can come out with one.”
Deandre Ayton, who scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds, was happy with the way Phoenix stayed together during the team’s cold spell in Game 4.
“My teammates are really relentless,” he said. “We have a thing on the team where something called togetherness, and we play as a unit, we come together, and we just fight over adversity and fight over fatigue. Our mental stamina was there today, and we did a good job of that.”
Now, it’s time for Phoenix to focus on Game 5(Monday night), where they have an opportunity to get to the NBA Finals in front of their home fans. If they can get it done in Game 5, Phoenix will make it to the Finals for the first time in 28 years.
Chris Paul was one win away from the Finals back in 2018 with the Rockets before losing to the Warriors in 7, and he knows that the job is not done until you get four wins.
“Three wins don’t win the series,” Paul, who 18 points and seven assists, said postgame. “So, right now, we did what we came here to do, we wanted to get one of these, and now we got to stay focused and be ready to go back to our crowd.”
The Clippers have battled back this whole playoff run, so they’re not done until the Suns win four games. However, without Kawhi Leonard(missed sixth straight game with knee sprain), it appears the Clippers may have finally run out of gas. We’ll see what they have in Game 5.
-Paul George led the Clippers with 23 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists on Saturday night before fouling out late in the game, and Reggie Jackson added 20 points.
-Suns’ Booker got rid of the mask he uses to protect his broken nose in the third quarter. After the game, he explained why.
“I just I think I took it off after I missed a layup,” he said about the mask. “I said after the game if I get hit again, which you don’t realize how much you get hit in the face until you take it off. But I can get surgery after the season. I’m not blaming anything on the mask, but I haven’t played basketball with a mask ever in my life. So it takes some getting used to, and at that point in that time, I didn’t want it.”
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.
Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker picked a great time to have his first career triple-double. Booker had a game-high 40 points(29 in the second half) on 15/29 shooting to go along with game-highs in rebounds (13), and assists (11) as the Suns defeated the Clippers at home 120-114 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday.
According to Stathead, it’s the 12th 40-point triple-double in postseason history.
Booker was at his best in the third quarter. He scored 18 in the quarter, including 16 straight points for the Suns. He would add another 11 points in the fourth, and Phoenix had their largest lead of 10 in the final quarter, and they would hold on for the victory.
According to Booker, the triple-double was great, but the winning was even better.
“I mean, it’s very special, but the win feels better,” Booker said. “That’s what I’m out there for the whole entire time. So part of the triple-double is assists, and that’s my teammates making them pay for running and doubling and seeing different types of defenses… So it takes a whole collective team group to get what we got done tonight.”
Both teams came into this game without key players. The Suns are without Chris Paul, who is out due to health and safety protocols, and for the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard is out due to a sprained knee.
Even when not playing, Paul was engaged and talked to his teammates via FaceTime after the game, which Booker discussed.
“He’s our leader,” Booker said about Paul. “We lean on him for a lot and we know how disappointed he is and frustrated is he couldn’t be out here for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, especially knowing his past history around this time. But we know we had him all the way through. We brought him in the locker room. We had him in our after-game huddle. So he’s proud of us. He’s ready to get back. He’s working and we can’t wait to have him.”
The Clippers came off a series-clinching victory over the Jazz on Friday night, so they had a quick turnaround. However, they got a big-time performance out of Paul George, who scored a team-high 34 points. Despite the loss in Game 1, George is confident Los Angeles can bounce back in Game 2.
“I expect us to get better as the series goes,’ George said. “We’ve been great at it. It’s nothing to kind of panic over right now. You know, we were down Kawhi. We’re playing with a banged-up Marcus(Morris Sr). Yeah, they don’t have Chris Paul either, but it’s a game of adjustments. We’ll figure out what we need to do better. But good thing about it, we expect a long series, and all they did was win one game.”
Without Paul, Booker had to do more, and he did that. Now, if they can get Paul back, things will get even better for the Suns. However, as seen throughout these playoffs, you can never sleep on the Clippers, so expect a better effort in Game 2 on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
-The Suns had six players in double-figures. Deandre Ayton had 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting and grabbing 9 rebounds. Ayton has shot over 50 percent from the field in all 11 of the Suns’ playoff games.
-Making his first career postseason start, Cameron Payne just missed out on a double-double, tallying 11 points and a postseason career-high 9 assists.
-Playing in just his third postseason game of this year’s NBA Playoffs, DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench tonight to add 11 points and 4 rebounds for L.A.
-The Suns shot 55.1 percent (49-of-89) from the field tonight, a new playoff high this season, while limiting Los Angeles to 45.5 percent (40-of-88) shooting. It marked the 25th time in franchise history the Suns have shot 55 percent or better from the field in a postseason game, and the first time since May 5, 2006. Phoenix is 21-4 all-time in such games during the playoffs.