At this point, we should have expected it. Seriously, how many times have the Los Angeles Clippers played their best basketball in this playoff when you least believed them? Only if they know why the adversity of Kawhi Leonard’s injury or the threat of destruction or humiliation can bring the best version of the team that has been crowned champion contenders in the past two seasons. Maybe they don’t even know themselves.
But for the third consecutive series, the Clippers performed incredibly on Monday night, despite the highest odds so far, beating the Phoenix Suns 116-102 and removing Suns fans from the 16,664 fans who have been waiting for 28 years to celebrate their return to the NBA Finals. The Suns lead the series by 3-2.
“The whole season has been like this,” Clippers head coach Tyrone Lue (now 10-2) when coaching the elimination team. “We have bad days and the boys were not there. Different people performed and came in and played well. We’ve been doing this all year round. I know I keep repeating the word “hard”, but this group is.”
Paul George from playing passive and careless possession of the ball in the first half was unstoppable in the second half, scoring 30 points out of his 41 points in the second half of the game. The Clippers broke through for the first time in the series and won their sixth game in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
“We are getting closer now,” George said. We will pay our 100% and accept it.” For George and the Clippers, this was a wonderful 48-hour breakdown. They looked exhausted after losing at home on Sunday night, since they were playing for a little while, they have been playing well without Leonard who injured his knee in the middle.
For Phoenix, it was an embarrassing loss in front of the noisy home audience. It was a blast for them, but the Clippers’ quick start (20-5) made the Suns and their fans anxious overnight. Phoenix led for only 20 seconds in the third quarter on Monday night, but never got close enough after that to even consider reaching the final in the fourth quarter.