NBA

Suns Outlast Clippers 84-80, Take 3-1 Lead In West Finals

Jun 26, 2021, 10:20 PM | Updated: Dec 8, 2022, 11:51 am
Devin Booker - Phoenix Suns - Los Angeles Clippers - Game 4...
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns fouls Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers during the second half in game four of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center on June 26, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Devin Booker scored 25 points before fouling out in the final minute, Chris Paul made clutch free throws on a night everyone was missing and the Phoenix Suns escaped with an 84-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.

The Suns can advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 with a victory Monday night in Phoenix.

The Clippers struggled with poor shooting in all but the third quarter, when they made 10 of 17 shots to pull within three points. They got within one four times in the fourth, but could never take the lead in front of a sellout crowd that hung on every agonizing miss.

LA shot 32% (27 of 83) for the game; Phoenix was barely better at 36% (31 of 86). The Clippers made five 3-pointers in the game; the Suns hit four.

Deandre Ayton added 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds, and Paul had 18 points and seven assists.

Paul George had 23 points, 16 rebounds and six assists before fouling out with 1 second left. Reggie Jackson added 20 points for the Clippers. Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The Clippers successfully challenged a call in the final minute that led to Booker’s sixth foul. Terance Mann scored and they trailed 79-76.

The final 13 seconds turned into a free-throw shooting contest. Paul made 5 of 6. The Clippers were 4 of 8, deliberately missing three of them to try to score. But it didn’t work.

With injured Kawhi Leonard again watching from a suite, the Clippers outscored the Suns 30-19 in the third, only to get outscored 15-14 in the fourth.

Booker picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth, along with a technical for arguing the call. That put George at the line and he made 2 of 3, missing the last one that would have tied the game for the first time. Instead, the Clippers trailed 71-70.

It stayed that way for minutes, with the Suns committing two turnovers and Booker getting his fifth foul. George missed two shots and the Clippers turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation.

Then Paul tossed up an alley-oop pass that Ayton slammed and Booker hit a jumper, keeping the Suns ahead 75-72.

Maddeningly, shots either rimmed out for both teams or hit the rim and bounced away, creating frantic scrambles for loose balls.

Paul ran off seven straight points early in the third, dropping his former team into a 13-point hole.

But the Clippers outscored the Suns 20-10 from there and trailed 69-66 heading into the fourth. Phoenix went without a field goal over the final few minutes of the third, when Booker made 4 of 6 free throws.

The Clippers shot 13 of 44 in the first half. None of them could get it going: George and Jackson were 3 of 11 and Marcus Morris was 1 of 6.

Phoenix raced to leads of 14-2 and 20-9 in the first quarter. The Clippers made just one of their first seven shots — a dunk by Zubac. Seven of George’s 11 points in the half came on a 3-pointer and four free throws.

Booker picked up three fouls in the first half, two of them within minutes of each other in the second quarter. At that point, the Suns were up by 16.

TIP-INS

Suns: Abdel Nader saw his first action of the series after being out rehabbing his right knee. He was scoreless in five minutes.

Clippers: George scored his 430th point of the playoffs in the first quarter, giving him a career high for total points in a single postseason.

NBA

LeBron James Utah Jazz...
Chandler Holt

Through The Years: NBA’s Scoring Leader LeBron James Against Utah Jazz

LeBron James is now the NBA's all-time leading scorer. Drafted in 2003, James has played many games against the Jazz in his 20-year career.
8 hours ago
John Stockton and Karl Malone celebrate co-mvp in the Feb. 1993 NBA All-Star game....
Chandler Holt

The Full History Of Utah Jazz Players In All-Star Game

Since 1976, the Utah Jazz franchise has had 16 players combine for 50 appearances in the NBA All-Star game.
1 day ago
Walker Kessler - Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers...
Chandler Holt

Coaches Draft Rising Stars Teams, Deron Williams Selects Walker Kessler

The Jordan Rising Stars teams were drafted today. Former Jazz All-Star Deron Williams picked Walker Kessler to join his team.
1 day ago
Candace-Parker-Chicago-Sky-WNBA...
Chandler Holt

Candace Parker Will Be First Female Color Commentator For NBA All-Star Game

WNBA All-Star Candace Parker will make history in Salt Lake City. She will be the first female color commentator for the 72nd NBA All-Star game.
1 day ago
Mike-Conley-Utah-Jazz-NBA...
Kyle Ireland

Jazz Guard Mike Conely Spins, Hits Floater Against Mavericks

Jazz guard Mike Conley spun for a tough floater during the final quarter of Utah's game against the Dallas Mavericks.
2 days ago
Zack-Moss-Indianapolis-Colts-Houston-Texans-NFL...
Kyle Ireland

Indianapolis Colts RB Zack Moss Attends Mavs-Jazz Game

Former Utah Utes and current Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss attended an NBA game between the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Suns Outlast Clippers 84-80, Take 3-1 Lead In West Finals