Those playoff games against the Mavericks. All the backpack behind, especially since last year. Those free throws from Game 2 with the Suns. Has been judging strongly Paul george for not living up to these Clippers until recently, but here he crowns a performance that no one will be able to complain about. And with Kawhi leonard injured and looking to be out until the end, the responsibility has been for him and he is responding as best he can. Neither is Ibaka, another critical point for Lue, and the Angelenos are still clearly being overtaken by Phoenix, but silly they have gone 3-2 saving the penultimate away game and return to Staples Center hoping to force another seventh game as they already did against Luka Doncic, Rick Carlisle and company. Without palliative this 102-116 of the fifth meeting.
George pulls out a thorn or a thorn, we will have to ask him, with a match never seen: 41 points, with 15/20 in field goals, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Especially critical was the momentum in the third quarter, with 20 points, a single throwing miss and the moment the Clippers finished loosening up. It is his best performance in a match at championship heights because he has never scored so much, but its effectiveness is to assess it separately: the statistical line is only comparable to two and the last one was signed by Magic Johnson in 1980 and, of course, nobody has done it with the Clippers, but it is the first one to score so much with a 100% accuracy in free throws, 75% in field shots and 50% in triples. Superb.
The Suns were brave even as the Clippers pushed to reduce the impact of DeAndre Ayton (10 + 11), key so far. Zubac disappeared and Cousins came in to refresh the five little ones, with Marcus morris on all sides and Patrick Beverley again very successful in defense. The locals hit two good arreones in the second half to get closer, the last one with half a quarter left, but the Los Angeles team kept their cool at someone else’s house and took a victory that gives them an extra life in these conference finals.
Morris was right at the start and the starting set was 5-20, causing damage in the middle and long distance. With this a small mattress was made that was topped at the end of the first period by Jackson with a floater on the horn that lowered the distance by ten points. Cousins entered with Morris to make a couple and nothing was heard of the criticized Zubac, who has been singled out after the fourth meeting. Cousins, after his infamous failure of the previous appointment, put the batteries and, although he can not even get off the ground and runs slowly and fatigued by his past injuries, he saw Dario Saric and made him a tailored suit.
The Suns squeezed in with Paul and Payne, also with minutes together, and came close to three, but another hand blow from the Clippers put them way ahead. Only a brilliant action from Ayton and Booker when the second quarter was over put the difference back below ten: 52-59. And as the second half began, with only four minutes left, the hosts took the lead, 62-61, with a Chris Paul shot from four meters from the basket. That’s where the decisive Paul George came out to bring the party back to its ground and paint a museum performance.
Thirteen were the Clippers with a 2 + 1 from Cousins and four fell the Suns with a 2 + 1 from Johnson. But they are playoffs of Reggie Jackson, who also wanted his share of the limelight: accompanying a couple of worthy shots from Paul George, the guard-guard made two triples and scored a smash to give his team the necessary advantage in the last strip and that they did not suffer to to win.