Paul George did not flinch this time. Playoff P was there to save the Los Angeles Clippers from certain death.
George scored 27 points, and the Clippers won in a dominant quarter. They beat Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns by 106 to 92 in Game 3 in the Western Conference finals.
Reggie Jackson, Clippers guard, said that “We continue chipping away, try to figure out ways we can improve and impose our will upon opponents.” “We showed a lot more heart and fought hard.”
Clippers reduced their series deficit from 2-1 to end the Suns’ nine-game winning streak in playoffs.
Coach Tyronn Lue of the Clippers said, “Our guys keep grinding and keep fighting.” “We don’t give up.”
Kawhi Leonard was unable to play due to a right knee injury, so George took over the load. George played a record 43 minutes, despite missing two critical free throws in Game 2. He made 6 out of 7 free throws.
George stated, “I knew that I had to do better.” “All of my energy was directed towards a better game.”
After Paul missed the first two games, he was sidelined from the NBA’s safety and health protocols. The Suns brought Paul back. The ex-Clipper was heckled during intros and had 15 points, 12 assists, but only 5 of 19 shots from the field.
“I must get better. Paul stated that he shot horrible. You could see that they had more energy. “I was able to keep up the pace.”
Cameron Payne, who had so skillfully filled in for Paul during the first two games of the series, was taken to hospital with a left ankle injury and did not return.
Devin Booker, Suns guard, said that “we missed him a lot.”
Monty Williams, Suns coach, said that Paul was too much in his first game back.
Williams stated that he “probably got tired” and that it hurt them when Cam didn’t return. “I left Chris there for a longer stretch, and that’s on him.”
Deandre Ayton was the Suns’ leading scorer with 18 points.
Jackson scored 23 points for the Clippers. Ivica Zubac added 15 points to his total and tied his career playoff record with 16 rebounds.
Staples Center will host Game 4 on Saturday night.
The teams played close for the first half after Phoenix won the first two games with seven points. George gave the Clippers a boost by dunking a thunderous one handed dunk as he led them into the locker room.
Jackson stated that Jackson’s comments “probably killed their momentum a bit.” Jackson said, “We are fortunate to have a man like that that can do a little of everything.”
Los Angeles was quick to get to work in the second period in front of 17,222 Thunder Stix-pounding fans.
George stated, “We knew that we had to care for homecourt.” We had to match their grit. This team cannot play harder than we can.
The Clippers dominated the game with a 21-3 run that saw them lead 71-56 in third. Terance Mann scored six points straight, while Jackson scored four consecutive points before George scored inside. Zubac dunk George’s pass, and made two free throws. Paul was able to limit the Suns to a 3-pointer.
Williams stated, “They just brought them it.” Williams said, “We just couldn’t match their force.”
Booker was fouled three times in 42 seconds during the Clippers’ run. Booker, who was wearing a clear mask to protect the injury on his nose from Patrick Beverley’s bang in Game 2, was 5 of 21, making just one of seven 3-point attempts, and finishing with 15 points.
Jae Crowder, who was a part of Deandre’s winning dunk on Tuesday night, was fouled with 4:51 left. He finished with nine points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Despite having decent looks, the Suns finished just 35 out of 90 on the floor.
Williams stated that “We weren’t sound at all.” Williams said, “They played solid defense, but we didn’t run our offense in the same way we have for most of these playoffs.”
George finished the third quarter by bankin’ a 3-pointer from inside midcourt. It beat the buzzer and sent the Clippers into fourth place, leading by 80-69. He turned to the sideline to give a hug to his wife and their children.
George, who attempts similar shots pre-game, said, “I didn’t call glass, however, I felt great about it.” “That was the one we needed.”
Booker talked to Richard Hamilton, a retired player about how to play with a mask. Hamilton suffered two broken noses during the 2003-04 season. He wore a clear plastic face mask. He wore it throughout his entire career.
Booker stated, “Nose feels fine” and confirmed that it was damaged in three areas. He had it resetted and was given several doses of painkiller.
After a sore knee, Marcus Morris was almost knocked out. He was able to come off the bench. He scored eight points after scoring two big 3-pointers during the second half.
Mann, who took Morris’ place, said that “He still did an amazing job.” “Hit some shots. Played great defense. In there fighting for every rebound.”
Suns: The Suns fell to 10-3 in playoffs. This was their first loss since May 27, when they lost against the Lakers at Staples Center in Game 3 in the first round. Booker and Beverley were both called for double technicals during the third. Paul and Booker missed six of their first shots and were each 2 of 10, with seven points, in the second half.
Clippers: Zubac is now the Clipper to score a double-double during the first half in a postseason match since DeAndre Jordan’s April 30, 2017, win against Utah. … Billy Crystal, a long-time fan, sat at courtside.