The Suns beat the Clippers 84-80, leading 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals
Los Angeles (Associated Press)-Neither team can shoot. The ball bounces frantically on and around the basket, but rarely enters.
During the timeout, the Suns only talked about defense. The Clippers deliberately missed free throws in order to keep the ball and hit a three-pointer.
In the end, the former Clippers’ Chris Paul made a crucial free throw on a night when everyone was missing.
Devin Booker scored 25 points before the last-minute foul, and Phoenix escaped with an 84-80 victory on Saturday night, leading 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals.
The Suns can win in Phoenix on Monday night, thus reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.
“We won’t look too far,” Booker said.
The Clippers rebounded from a 0-2 disadvantage, defeated Dallas and Utah, and entered the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.
“It will be difficult and difficult, but it has to be one game after another,” Paul George said. “Do our best in the 5th game.”
The Clippers suffered a terrible shooting percentage in all games except the third quarter, when they made 10 of 17 shots to tie the score to a three-pointer. They led four times in the fourth game, but could never lead in front of the 18,222 sold-out crowds that were painfully missed in each game.
“This is a crazy emotional game,” Paul said.
Los Angeles has a 32% field goal percentage (27 points from 83 shots); Phoenix barely reaches 36% (31 out of 86). The Clippers led the league in three-pointers in the regular season and only made 5 points; the Suns made four points.
“It was a fierce battle,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “This is definitely not Offensive 101.”
Clippers head coach Tylen Lu said: “We had a chance to take the lead in 12 offenses, but we couldn’t. It just won’t fall on us.”
Deandre Ayton had 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds, while Paul had 18 points and 7 assists.
George scored 23 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists, then fouled with 1 second left. Reggie Jackson contributed 20 points for the Clippers. Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The Clippers successfully challenged a penalty in the last minute, leading to Booker’s sixth foul. Terance Mann scored and they fell behind 79-76.
The last 13 seconds turned into a free throw game, and the Suns fouled and tried to keep the Clippers away from the three-point line. Paul made 5 of 6 shots. The Clippers made 4 of 8 shots.
With the injured Kawhi Leonard watching in the suite again, the Clippers defeated the Suns 30-19 in the third quarter after falling 16 points in the first half.
When the Suns defeated the Clippers 15-14, both teams’ offenses collapsed in the fourth quarter.
Mann said: “It’s very difficult because we have been fighting all the way to get a single point game, and we have maintained a normal performance throughout the season, and they have not declined.” “If we make a shot, the game may be very different Way.”
Booker got his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter with a technical penalty. This put George on the free throw line. He made 2 of 3 shots and missed the last one to tie the game for the first time. On the contrary, the Clippers fell behind 71-70.
This situation lasted for a few minutes, and both teams became cold.
“At that time, you just relied on your defense and mental stamina,” Williams said.
George said: “You just have to work hard to overcome it and make a breakthrough.”
Paul threw an air relay pass, Ayton slammed, Booker hit a jumper, and the Suns led 75-72.
What is maddening is that the two teams either shot out of bounds or hit the rim and bounced off, creating a frantic scramble for the loose ball.
“This is a skirmish under the basket, the ball is everywhere,” Williams said.
Paul scored 7 consecutive points early in the third quarter, throwing his old team into a 13-point hole.
But the Clippers passed the Suns 20-10 from there, and trailed 69-66 into the fourth quarter. Phoenix missed a field goal in the final minutes of the third quarter, and Booker made 4 of 6 free throws.
The Clippers made 13 of 44 shots in the first half. None of them succeeded: George and Jackson shot 3 of 11, and Marcus Morris shot 1 of 6.
Phoenix led 14-2 and 20-9 in the first quarter. The Clippers made only one of their first seven shots-Zubac dunks. Seven of the 11 points George scored in halftime came from three-pointers and four free throws.
Booker got three fouls in the first half, two of which were within minutes of the second quarter. At that time, the Suns led by 16 points.
Suns: Abdel Nader saw his first series action after recovering from his right knee. He didn’t score in five minutes.
Clippers: George scored his 430th point in the first quarter of the playoffs, which allowed him to set a career high for his total scoring in a single playoff game.
Less masked person
After a missed layup, Booker lost the clear plastic mask he had worn since his nose was interrupted in a head-to-head collision with Patrick Beverley in the second game.
“Until you take it off, you won’t realize how hard your face has been,” he said, adding that he is not used to playing with it.
Booker said he is not sure if he will wear it in the fifth game.
Ayton appeared on the stage wearing Booker’s T-shirt and bandaged nose.
“He said,’I concealed it from you on the bus,'” Booker said.
Ayton said: “My child was hit. It was just a message.”
Do what i do
Paul said he thought of his 12-year-old son Chris when he went to line up in the fourth quarter.
“I have been talking to my son about the importance of free throws,” he said. “If I didn’t do this, how the hell would I tell him to stay calm?”