PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Clippers have done it again.
In yet another high-stakes playoff game, the Clippers overcame adversity to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Clippers finished with a 116-102 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Monday, reducing the Suns’ series lead to 3-2 and ensures a Game 6 in LA on Wednesday.
Despite missing Kawhi Leonard for a seventh consecutive game because of an injured right knee, the Clippers compensated elsewhere. The Clippers’ other star in Paul George finished with 41 points while shooting 15-of-20 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range along with 12 rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes. The Clippers’ Reggie Jackson (23 points), Marcus Morris Sr. (22) and DeMarcus Cousins (15) also cracked in double digits, while also missing center Ivica Zubac with a right knee MCL sprain.
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Because of all of those contributions, the Clippers cemented promising leads early in the first quarter (18-5 with 7:28 left), at halftime (59-52) and after the third quarter (91-78). The Suns kept the game close because of contributions from Devin Booker (31 points), Chris Paul (22 points, eight assists) and Deandre Ayton (10 points, 11 rebounds). But this game only featured two lead changes. Unlike in Game 4 when the Clippers went on a nearly four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter without scoring a point, they showed better chemistry in Game 5.
The game lacked plenty of tension.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley was given a Flagrant Foul 1 in the third quarter after undercutting Paul’s midsection before falling to the ground. Beverley mocked Paul’s penchant for flopping, but replays showed Beverley caused Paul to fall.
Suns forward Jae Crowder was also given a Flagrant Foul1 in the fourth quarter after striking George’s right eye on a shot attempt. Moments after falling on the ground, George received treatment on his eye while officials reviewed the play.