Paul George drops 41 as Clippers coast past Suns 116-102 in Game 5

Paul George had a monster game with 41 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and Marcus Morris chipped in 22 points with as the Clippers sent the series back to Los Angeles with a 116-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 5. Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points, but shot 9-22 from the floor. Chris Paul also struggled, managing 22 points on 8-19 shooting.

Reggie Jackson and DeMarcus Cousins were vital scoring contributors for the Clippers with 23 and 15, respectively. With Ivica Zubac sidelined, Los Angeles went with a smaller lineup for most of the game and found success.

The Clippers covered the spread at +5.5. The over hit at 214.5. Even with Kawhi Leonard sidelined, Los Angeles continues to strong good team basketball and deliver results.

The Clippers jumped out to a quick 22-10 lead behind Morris’ hot start. The Suns cut the deficit to six on Cameron Johnson’s jumper, but the Clippers held a 44-30 advantage before Phoenix really made a game out of it. The Suns rattled off 12 straight points to make it a 44-42 game and seemed to find their footing. Los Angeles held a 59-52 halftime lead.

The Clippers maintained this distance for much of the third quarter, but went on a 9-2 run to close out the quarter with a 91-78 lead. Los Angeles held its edge early in the fourth quarter, but the Suns went on a 9-3 spurt of their own to cut the gap to 98-94.

It would all Los Angeles from there. Jackson and George were responsible for a 14-2 run to break the game open and Phoenix never got back in the contest.

The Suns committed 14 turnovers, ultimately leading to their downfall. The Clippers also managed to contain Deandre Ayton, limiting him to 10 points and 11 rebounds. Los Angeles will likely continue to go small as the series progresses even if Zubac is healthy.

Game 6 is Wednesday in Los Angeles at 9:00 PM ET…

Paul George, Los Angeles climb back in Western finals with Game 3 win

The Clippers have overcome two separate 2-0 deficits in this postseason, and on Thursday, they took the first step toward doing it for a third time. After falling behind in the first half, the Clippers erupted in the second to win Game 3, 106-92. They will now have a chance to tie the series in Game 4 on Saturday.

Paul George led the Clippers with 27 points, but as has been the case so many times this postseason, it was Reggie Jackson who sealed the win with an incredible fourth quarter. He finished the game with 23 points to help make this a 2-1 series. The Suns, meanwhile, got very little out of their star guard tandem. Chris Paul and Devin Booker combined to shoot a horrific 10 of 40 from the field in the loss for Phoenix.

The Suns hadn’t lost a game since May 27, a staggering nine-game winning streak as they’d run roughshod over the Lakers, Nuggets, and for two games, the Clippers. L.A. fought back on Thursday, and on Sunday, will try to do so again by tying the series at two games apiece. For now, here are the biggest takeaways from Game 3.

A bad day for Phoenix’s guards

The Suns are so deep that they can usually overcome a stroke of bad luck or two. The first two games of this series encapsulated that. Phoenix won both games at home without Chris Paul because Devin Booker was dominant in Game 1 and Cameron Payne played the game of his life in Game 2. Well, let’s take a look at what happened in Game 3:

  • Paul returned to the lineup, but as he hasn’t played in 11 days and may or may not have had COVID-19, he was at the very least rusty. His conditioning and rhythm seemed affected by the layoff.
  • Booker played Game 3 in a facemask after Patrick Beverley head-butted him in Game 2. It would be unfair to attribute his struggles entirely to that mask. Beverley has defended him very well

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix win Game 2 with game-winner in final second

The Los Angeles Clippers came incredibly close to evening their series against the Phoenix Suns but just couldn’t pull it out. After Paul George missed two free throws with only eight seconds remaining to keep the Clippers’ lead at one, the Suns kept the ball after their missed game-winner attempt went out of bounds off of the Clippers. With only 0.9 seconds remaining, the Suns drew up a perfect lob pass to Deandre Ayton, who dunked it home for the win.

With Chris Paul out of the lineup yet again, the Suns received big-time performances from Cam Payne as well as he led all scorers with a game-high 29 points while Ayton poured in 22 points and 14 rebounds of his own with Devin Booker also contributing 20 points. On the other side, Paul George led the Clippers with 26 points but he needed to attempt 23 shots to reach that total. Not exactly the most efficient performance from Los Angeles’ lone All-Star in the lineup. In the end, it wasn’t enough to get the job done.

Following the loss, the Clippers now trail 0-2 for the third time this postseason. These two teams will meet again on Thursday night with the opening tip scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday night’s game.

1. Free throw follies

Before Paul George stepped to the foul line with 8.2 seconds remaining and a chance to give the Clippers a one-point lead, he had already missed three free throws. That was highly out of character for him. George shot nearly 87 percent at the line this season. He didn’t miss his fifth free throw of the regular season until his 11th game. But after missing those two critical freebies in the final moments of Game 2, he closed the night a disappointing 5-of-10 at the line. In a one-point loss, any one of those shots could have sent this game to overtime. Two would’ve won it for them.

There are inevitably going to be those that point to George’s …

Devin Booker’s triple-double lifts Phoenix past Los Angeles in Game 1

While the story entering the game may have been focused on the players who were unavailable, Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard, the story coming out of Game 1 will be the back and forth battle between Devin Booker and Paul George as the two went at it all day long in the Suns’ 120-114 victory.

Booker finished the win with the Suns’ first playoff triple-double since Steve Nash accomplished the feat in 2005. The All-Star guard was masterful on the offensive end recording 40 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists as he seemingly made the right play whenever Phoenix needed it. On the other side, George led the charge for the Clippers finishing the game with 34 points, five assists and four rebounds but, in the end, it wasn’t enough to overcome Booker and the rest of the Suns.

With the win, the Suns grab the early momentum in this series as they look to defend their home floor and put themselves in a position to advance to the NBA Finals. These two teams will meet again on Tuesday night with the opening tip scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

Here are three main takeaways from Game 1.

1. The Devin Booker show

With the Suns up two points with 22 seconds left, Booker got the ball on an after-timeout-play, noticed there wasn’t a single Clippers player within spitting distance of him and drove to the rim for a two-handed dunk. The crowd roared and Booker just polished off a 40-point triple-double to carry the Suns to a Game 1 win. It was an exclamation mark on what Booker did over the course of the game, where he went toe-to-toe with each L.A. defender put in front of him and continuously just kept knocking down shots. The magic in it though is the fact that he was getting to his spots with ease.

They ran a high screen and roll, and Booker got to his spot at the elbow and knocked down mid-range jumpers left and right. …

Paul George rallies The Clippers to Game 5 win over Jazz

Once stunned into silence on a night where the expected outcome had not come to pass, the 18,007 inside the arena had begun to regain their belief, and volume, as Clippers teammate Paul George made free throws to push their lead to seven with three minutes remaining. And as he shot, Beverley waved his arms, signaling for more before the Clippers’ finished an improbable 119-111 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Consider his position: It was hard for the noise to get any louder than what the Clippers had already heard Wednesday, long before tipoff. In the hours after All-Star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for Game 5 of this second-round series because of a strained right knee that could sideline him the rest of this series, if not beyond depending on the injury’s still-unknown severity, gambling odds tilted toward the Jazz.

A sports-talk radio host in Los Angeles described himself as thankful that order had seemingly been restored — a twisted end to a promising Clippers season. If Phoenix, awaiting the winner of this matchup in the Western Conference finals, had fired up film of the Jazz, it might have been understandable.

Leonard, the all-NBA force who had averaged more than 30 points in this postseason, has been that valuable for the Clippers. But removing him from the lineup did not remove the unshakeable confidence this roster forged through short-handed February nights, a May comeback against Dallas and this June encore against the Jazz. Only seconds after George’s free throws, Terrance Mann drove the baseline against 7-foot Rudy Gobert and dunked over the outreached arm of the three-time defensive player of the year.

The victory stakes the Clippers to a 3-2 lead entering Game 6 Friday in Los Angeles and was as loud as any postseason statement the franchise has made in its recent history. Without Leonard, George led the Clippers in points (37), rebounds (16) and assists (5) to push the franchise one victory away from their first conference final berth and, personally, push back after his …

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George rise to occasion, and L.A. has found its blueprint

The Los Angeles Clippers are living dangerously in these playoffs, falling behind 2-0 in each of their first two series. Yet, here they are wrestling back control in the nick of time again, defeating the Jazz 118-104 on Monday night to even their second-round series 2-2, just as they did against the Mavericks in the first round.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Utah.

It feels like all the momentum has swung the Clippers’ way. Kawhi Leonard, who has arguably been the best player in this postseason, was fantastic on both ends, finishing with 31 points. And what can you say about Paul George?

We’re going to need to bring this P.G. roast to an end. The man is playing terrific, and quietly has been through most of this postseason, and he has for most of his career. He brought on much of the mocking with the self-proclaimed nickname and the whole “that’s a bad shot” routine, but a few high-profile stinkers aside, there is no way you don’t want this on your team.

George finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He was 4 for 10 from beyond the arc. He’s attacking with force and shooting with confidence, and the impressiveness of that cannot be understated given the spotlight that is on him. It feels like all of social media is just waiting for him to fail, and he’s aware of it. He has to be. It would be so easy for him to get hesitant. And yet he’s playing as though he is oblivious to it all. When he was subbed out for the last time in the fourth quarter, he left to a standing ovation. He deserved it. Good for him.

And good for the Clippers, who have seemingly dialed in their championship formula. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win it, but this is what gives them their best chance: Leonard and George play like stars and the defense suffocates with switches, aggressive rotations and ball pressure.

On Monday, the first half decided the …

Mitchell Drops 45 points to over-come the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers earned the right to take on the top-seeded Utah Jazz by beating the Dallas Mavericks in a Game 7 on Sunday afternoon. While Kawhi Leonard and company are certainly riding the momentum from that win into this series, nothing will come easy against Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz as Utah was the Western Conference’s top seed for a reason. As we enter the fourth quarter, we have a game on our hands as the Clippers and Jazz are all tied up.

Both of these teams have something to prove. The Clippers were bounced in the second round a year ago after they fell well short of their championship expectations. The Jazz made an even earlier exit in the postseason, losing in the first round to the Denver Nuggets, who went on to beat the Clippers in the next round after coming back from a 3-1 hole. Both of these teams will be hungry to prove that last season’s early playoff exits were just a blip in the grand scheme of things, but at the end of the day only one team can advance.

Rudy

For more on the NBA playoffs, we’ve got you covered with an in-depth look at the Clippers-Jazz series, the round-by-round playoff schedule, a breakdown of our expert predictions for both the second round and the entire postseason. Follow below for all the real-time updates throughout Game 1 between Los Angeles and Utah.…

Clippers Advance to 2nd Round

After a grueling seven-game series, the Los Angeles Clippers have clinched their spot in the Western Conference semifinals with a 126-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.

As we have seen him do over the course of his career, Kawhi Leonard put the Clippers on his back on both ends of the floor to help put Los Angeles in a position to pull away from Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in the second half as they used a 24-4 run to close the third quarter to really open things up. While Dallas made a run in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to seven points, Los Angeles had just enough answers down the stretch to finish the job and win the series.

With the win, Los Angeles advances to face the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals with Game 1 of that best-of-seven series scheduled for Tuesday night.

Here are four key takeaways from the game:

1. Clippers survive and advance

When the Clippers lost the first two games of this series at home, it was pretty easy to start firing up the same old narratives about this team’s playoff history. And even more so after they dropped Game 5 at home as well. After all, they blew a 3-1 lead in the second round just last season, and have never made the conference finals in franchise history.

But streaks are made to be broken, and narratives can always be rewritten. After their Game 7 win on Sunday afternoon, the Clippers are well on their way to doing just that. Perhaps it was fitting that after their collapses in past postseasons, the Clippers were the ones who battled back from significant deficits in this series. The jury is still out on their ability to win a title, but any questions about their toughness and will to win have been answered.

Now, they’re on to face the No. 1 overall seed, the Utah Jazz, in the second round. It will be a quick turnaround, …

Nba Playoff Updates

Nets vs. Celtics score: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving in perfect sync as Brooklyn takes 2-0 lead

 

In Game 1, Brooklyn’s Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving took eight 3-pointers each. In Game 2, they took 12 total shots each. The balance these guys are showing, the feel for playing in harmony, is incredible when you consider they only suited up for eight total games together during the regular season.

On Tuesday, Durant led the way with 26 points, while Harden finished with 20 and Irving 15. They shot a collective 20-for-36 from the field, including 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and 14-for-14 from the free-throw line. Because the stars are playing such an efficient, balanced brand of offense, the Nets were able to get everyone involved in Game 2 to the tune of 31 team assists. When you have this kind of individual scoring and you’re still racking up 30-plus assists, you’re really onto something.

 

Through the first seven minutes on Tuesday, Harris was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc for 16 points. He finished the first half 5-for-7 from deep for 22 points in 15 minutes. He was a plus-29 for the game.

Harris would be a fantastic shooter and player on any team, but with all the attention that Durant, Harden and Irving command, he’s borderline unfair on the Nets. No shooter who hit 47.5 percent of his 3s in the regular season (as Harris did on over six attempts per game) should get the number of open looks that Harris gets, but what other choice does Boston, or any other defense for that matter, have?

Harris found his looks in a variety of ways. In transition:

Obviously, the Celtics need Tatum to do more than play; they need him to play like a superstar if they want to have a chance to get back in this series. Tatum finished Game 2 with nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Suffice it to say, that’s not going to get it done.

Tatum