PHOENIX (AP) — Paul George had simply wrapped up his good evening, scoring 41 factors to maintain the Los Angeles Clippers’ season alive. He shared some hugs and fist bumps with teammates and assistant coaches earlier than he lastly bought to go coach Tyronn Lue.
There have been some phrases of encouragement. They had been additionally apparently too scorching for TV.
“I can’t share that,” George stated with a smile, recalling the dialog. “Bleep this and bleep that.”
George set his playoff profession excessive in scoring, Reggie Jackson added 23 and the feisty Clippers staved off elimination by beating the Phoenix Suns 116-102 on Monday evening in Recreation 5 of the Western Convention finals.
The Clippers have been counted out a number of occasions on this postseason. That continues to be a mistake.
“The group of men we’ve bought, I like these guys. They compete each single evening irrespective of who’s on the ground,” Lue stated. “The work’s not executed, however we got here right into a hostile atmosphere and bought a gritty win.
“We’ve bought to do it once more two extra occasions.”
The collection strikes again to LA with the Suns holding a 3-2 benefit. Recreation 6 is Wednesday.
The short-handed Clippers had been taking part in with out two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and heart Ivica Zubac, who missed his first sport of the season with an MCL sprain in his proper knee. They’ve already fought via two grueling collection wins in these playoffs, getting back from 2-0 deficits to beat each the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.
Now they’re making an attempt to claw again in opposition to the Suns. Recreation 5 was begin.
George was incredible after a troublesome taking pictures evening in Recreation 4, pouring in 20 factors within the third quarter. He completed 15 of 20 from the sphere, together with 3 of 6 from 3-point vary and added 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
“In the event that they had been going to complete this collection, they had been going to must work for it,” George stated. “That’s simply the mentality we had. We weren’t going to again down. We weren’t going to throw within the towel. The actual fact of the matter is that they’ve bought to beat us.”
Marcus Morris Sr., who performed for Phoenix earlier in his profession, added 22 factors on 9-of-16 taking pictures.
The Suns trailed by as many as 15 factors through the first half however took their first benefit within the third when Chris Paul knocked down a 16-foot jumper for a 62-61 lead. The Clippers responded with the subsequent 10 factors after which began sinking 3-pointers. George hit back-to-back 3s and Patrick Beverley added one to push LA forward 82-70, gesturing to the Suns crowd as he jogged again down the court docket.
It was the frequent theme of the evening: Each time the Suns bought some momentum, the Clippers had been there to squash it in a rush.
The Clippers took a 91-78 lead into the fourth. The Suns pulled inside 98-94 with 6:58 left however LA responded with a 10-2 run and pulled away for the win.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 factors. Paul — who’s making an attempt to go to the NBA Finals for the primary time in his 16-year profession — added 22 factors and eight assists. Deandre Ayton had 10 factors and 11 rebounds.
“We’ve bought to be higher,” Paul stated. ”They got here out and so they had been the aggressors. They seemed like us in Recreation 4. They hit us, they had been too comfy and we’ve bought to be higher.”
The Clippers performed impressed basketball within the first half, leaping out to an 20-5 lead by midway via the primary quarter. Jackson threw down an enormous one-handed jam through the run and LA hit 9 of its first 11 pictures.
“It’s simply unacceptable the way in which we began the sport,” Suns coach Monty Williams stated. “It was an enormous gap for us. It’s fairly apparent that we are able to’t play with the show-up mentality. We confirmed up within the first quarter and so they performed with desperation.”
Morris was 6 of seven within the first and Jackson made a layup on the buzzer to present the Clippers a 36-26 benefit going into the second.
The Suns lower the benefit to 44-42 halfway via the second however the Clippers rallied once more to push forward by 10. Booker hit a 3-pointer on the halftime buzzer to chop the Clippers’ benefit 59-52.
Morris had 20 factors within the first half.
The Suns try to make their first NBA Finals since 1993. The Clippers have by no means been this far within the postseason.