NBA Basketball

92
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Phoenix 21 27 21 23 92
LA Clippers 29 17 34 26 106
106
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0021:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , June 24, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California  Attendance: 17,222

Clippers hope home court will reverse fortunes vs. Suns

According to STATS
According to STATS

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Phoenix's Game 2 win was the second playoff game in the last 15 years to have four go-ahead field goals in the final 40 seconds of the fourth quarter. The other was Game 2 of last year's Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Nuggets.
  2. Since falling down 2-1 against the Lakers in the first round, the Suns have won a franchise-record nine straight playoff games. Of the 10 other teams in NBA history to win 9+ straight playoff games, six went on to win the championship.
  3. The Clippers are the first team all-time to be down 2-0 three times in a single postseason. Only one team has ever come back to win three different series while down 2-0 in the NBA's playoff history -- the Cavaliers (2007 East Finals, 2016 NBA Finals, 2018 East Finals).
  4. Cameron Payne set career highs in points (29), field goals made (12) and field-goal attempts (24) in Game 2. His 29 points were the most ever in the playoffs by a Suns player who averaged fewer than 10 points per game during the regular season (8.4 PPG in reg. season).
  5. Paul George has scored at least 20 points in all 15 games this postseason. The only other active players to score 20+ points in each of the first 15 games of a postseason are LeBron James (15 straight in 2016) and Kevin Durant (20 straight in 2012, 21 straight in 2018).
  6. There have been 2333 players to attempt at least 100 shots in a single postseason. Deandre Ayton currently ranks first among them in field-goal percentage at 72.6% this season, a full 6.6% better than the current record (66.0% by Clint Capela in 2018).

The Phoenix Suns are riding the momentum, the Los Angeles Clippers now have the home court and Chris Paul holds the wild card when the Western Conference finals head to California on Thursday night for Game 3 in the best-of-seven series.

Despite missing Paul, their Most Valuable Player candidate who was sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols, the second-seeded Suns held serve at home in the first two games of the series, using polar-opposite means of recording 120-114 and 104-103 wins.

Devin Booker dominated Game 1, exploding for 40 points as part of a triple-double that steered the offensive-minded win. The Suns shot 55 percent in a game in which both teams were over 40 percent on 3-pointers while combining to hoist up 79 of them.

Defensive adjustments produced dramatically different results -- except for the winner -- in Game 2, one in which Booker was held to exactly half his previous game's point total. This time, the clubs combined for just 60 attempts from beyond the arc, and befitting a contest played much more in the vicinity of the hoop, Deandre Ayton's one-for-the-ages dunk off an alley-oop pass in the final second spelled the difference in a one-point game.

The fourth-seeded Clippers, who fell behind 2-0 in each of their first two series this postseason before rallying to eliminate Dallas and Utah, hope a home court on which they have ground out four straight wins can flip the script in Game 3.

But the Suns packed Paul for the short flight to Los Angeles, and he's considered a probable participant in their attempt to go up 3-0 on a second straight opponent.

Phoenix coach Monty Williams wouldn't go on record saying he'd be penciling Paul into his starting lineup, but assured he wouldn't hesitate if given the medical green light.

"I'm sure if I tried to keep Chris out of the game, we'd have to square off and go toe-to-toe," he joked. "So we'll just make that assessment when the time comes."

Meanwhile, the Clippers' top player, Kawhi Leonard, will remain out for Game 3. Leonard sustained a knee injury in the Utah series, and it's believed to be an anterior cruciate ligament issue. Reports regarding his prognosis range from sidelined for this series to questionable for next season's opener.

Veteran guard Patrick Beverley, who shared the defensive responsibility on Booker in Game 2, assures whoever shows up wearing the home team's colors at the Staples Center will represent the franchise well.

"We've been in the trenches before," he assured. "We respond well in the trenches. We'll respond well. We always do."

Even without Leonard, one of their best individual defenders, the Clippers were able to get a handle on Booker in Game 2. He shot just 5-for-16 two days after having been borderline unstoppable on a 15-for-29 day.

But as was the case most of the season when Paul was his sidekick, Booker got a difference-making performance from his backcourt mate -- this time Cameron Payne -- on a 29-point, nine-assist night on Tuesday.

Coupled with Ayton's 24-point, 14-rebound double-double, the Suns demonstrated the type of well-rounded attack that shocked the Los Angeles Lakers in Round 1 and dominated Denver in the Western semifinals.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 24, 2021

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