Facing elimination for the third time this postseason in Game 5 on Monday night, the Los Angeles Clippers showed that they weren’t ready for their season to end as they pulled out an impressive 116-102 win over the Phoenix Suns. With the win, the Clippers forced a Game 6, which will go down on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
Paul George led the way for the Clippers in Game 5 as he poured in a playoff career-high 41 points, along with 13 rebounds and six assists. In the process, he became the first-ever Clipper with a 40/10/5 playoff performance. He also got some serious help from Marcus Morris, DeMarcus Cousins and Reggie Jackson, as that trio combined for 60 points and 10 rebounds. On the other side of the floor, Devin Booker paced the Suns with 31 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Chris Paul also added 22 points and eight assists. Ultimately, though, their production wasn’t enough to end the series and clinch Phoenix’s first NBA Finals berth since 1993.
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The Suns will try to close out the series again on Wednesday night, while the Clippers will try to force a seventh and final game. Here’s everything you need to know about Game 6.
(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) Los Angeles ClippersDate: Wednesday, June 30 | Time: 9 p.m. ETLocation: Staples Center — Los Angeles, California TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)Odds: PHX -105; LAC -115 | O/U: 215 A (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns
Suns: Mikal Bridges hasn’t had his best series against the Clippers. He’s scored six points or fewer points in three of the five games so far, and he scored just 11 total points in Games 4 (six points) and 5 (five points) combined. This dip in production isn’t ideal considering the fact that Bridges averaged 13.5 points per game for the Suns during the regular season, and they rely on him for supplementary offensive output.
With the Clippers focusing a lot of their defensive effort on the duo of Booker and Paul, Bridges’ output becomes even more important. With his athleticism and his floor spacing, Bridges has the ability to swing a game in Phoenix’s favor, but he’s largely been a non-factor the past couple of games. The Suns should try to get him going early on in Game 6, perhaps by running him off some screens to get him some open opportunities from the perimeter. When he’s clicking on the offensive end, it opens things up for everyone else.
Clippers: If the Clippers were going to extend their season on Monday night without Kawhi Leonard, who remains sidelined with a knee injury, they were going to need a big-time performance from Paul George, and that’s exactly what they got. With L.A.’s season hanging in the balance, George stepped up in a major way, especially in the second half. After scoring a pretty pedestrian 11 points in the first half, George exploded for 30 points in the second half. In all, he dropped 41 points, which was the most that he’s ever scored in a playoff game, and his production was paramount in L.A.’s victory in Game 5. The Clippers will need another big game from George if they’re going to extend their season again and force a Game 7.
No coach has performed better over the past few years with their team facing elimination than Ty Lue. With their win in Game 5, Lue moved to 10-2 all-time when facing elimination. Lue’s ability to push the right buttons, plus the fact that the game will be played in L.A., should give the Clippers an edge. Pick: Clippers +1