Under the threat of elimination, the Los Angeles Clippers reacted nicely on Monday night, winning Game 5 with authority on the floor of the Phoenix Suns (116-102). Phoenix now has just three wins to two before Game 6, which takes place Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The climate of Arizona, however, appeared very hostile to the men of LA. Already deprived of their star Kawhi Leonard (knee) for the seventh game in a row, they also had to do without their Croatian pivot Ivica Zubac, also affected to a knee.
But Paul George was admirable. He found his shoot, lost in previous matches: 41 points, his record in the play-offs, with 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. And especially without spoiling much, at 15/20 shooting including 3/6 behind the arc and 8/8 in throws.
As Reggie Jackson (23 pts) and Marcus Morris (22 pts) had also set the sights after a match 4 little in relation to the current offensive standards (84-80 for Phoenix), the Suns had difficulty keeping pace. . Nicolas Batum, widely used off the bench (30 minutes of play), especially had a defensive impact (2 pts, 8 rebounds).
The refrain of resilience
The Clippers have perfectly played the air of resilience, the chorus of their play-offs. They had already been led two wins to zero against Dallas then against Utah before winning (4-3 then 4-2), never seen in the history of the NBA in the first two rounds of the play-offs.
Phoenix still has two chances to conclude, including a possible Home Game 7. But the Arizona team will have to wait before validating their first final since 1993, Charles Barkley era. Devin Booker registered 31 points and Chris Paul 22, but still with some shooting waste (9/22 and 8/19, respectively). “CP3”, 36 years old in search of the first final of his glorious career, has not achieved a single prize-winning basket in six attempts. Deandre Ayton, he had to settle for 10 points (5/9 in the shoot) with his 11 rebounds.
Led by 15 points in the second quarter, the Suns returned to the game in the third to take the 62-61 advantage, but the Clippers lined up a series of three-pointers to widen the gap again. Same scenario when Phoenix glued to four lengths (98-94) seven minutes from the end of the game.
We will have to tear ourselves apart to bury this LA team that definitely never wants to give up.