The Clippers looked like they were going to cruise into their fifth win of the season on Sunday. They led by 31 points in the second quarter and were hitting literally every shot they took. However, the Suns didn’t go away. They battled back, cutting LA’s lead all the way down to one point in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, the Clippers pulled away and secured the victory, defeating Phoenix 112-107.
With six minutes left in the second quarter, LA led 60-29. They were shooting 69 percent from the field and had already knocked down eight from deep. As we’ve seen far too many times, that rarely keeps up over the course of a game. Over the final six minutes of the second quarter, the Clippers were outscored 15-4, as their lead was down to 20 entering the half.
Phoenix just keep chipping away, as they dropped 37 points in the third quarter to bring their deficit down to only seven points. After scoring eight quick points to begin the fourth quarter, LA’s lead was only one, the closest it had been in a couple of hours. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Serge Ibaka helped extend the Clippers’ lead to five, right around where the lead stuck for the rest of the quarter.
However, Phoenix still hung around, as they cut the deficit to only three with over a minute remaining. Will 11 seconds remaining, Nicolas Batum hit a corner three to give the Clippers the win.
George led the way for the Clippers, dropping a season-high 39 points. He went 15-for-24 from the field and knocked down seven from deep. Per the Clippers PR, he is the third player in franchise history and first since Lou Williams (1/10/18 at Golden State) to have at least 39 points and seven three-pointers made. Not too bad.
Though the Clippers shot well for the game, Kawhi Leonard couldn’t buy a bucket. He made only four shots on 21 attempts. He tried to find his stroke late in the game, but it just couldn’t happen. He went 0-for-6 in the fourth quarter. Leonard missed all his three-point attempts and even missed three free throws. Sometimes, it’s just not your night.
Overall, it was a great win for the Clippers. It wasn’t ideal that they allowed the Suns to make it a game late in the fourth quarter, but it speaks volumes that the Clippers held on and dominated down the stretch and got the victory. When one of their stars was having an off-night, their other star and role players stepped up big time.
Also, this Phoenix team is legit. It’s going to be a lot of fun this year in the West.