Well, here’s a spot the Clippers haven’t found themselves in yet this postseason. After one of the worst shooting performances in recent memory, the Clippers lost Game 4 and now trail the series 3-1. With a loss, their season will come to an end. If the Clippers are going to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, they’ll have to win three games in a row.
When: Monday, June 28, 6 p.m. PT
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
How to watch/listen: ESPN
Opposing perspective: Bright Side of the Sun
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley
Suns: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul
Clippers: Serge Ibaka (lower back), Kawhi Leonard (right knee) — OUT; Ivica Zubac (MCL Strain) — QUESTIONABLE
Winning three games in a row isn’t new for the Clippers. They did it in their last matchup with the Jazz. Not only that, they won four in a row! They also won two in a row against Dallas in the first round after trailing the series, 3-2. So, it’s definitely doable. The problem is that two of the final three games would be in Phoenix, and LA is still down a lot of talent.
We already know about Leonard and Ibaka being out for the series. Not to mention, Morris Sr. has been dealing with a knee injury that doesn’t have him at 100 percent. To add more to the pain, Zubac is now officially listed as questionable with an MCL sprain. He appeared to hurt his knee the last game and now his status is in doubt for tonight.
This is another brutal hit for LA, as you can make the case Zubac has been their best player this series. If he’s out, it will have to be another man up.
Although the Clippers trail the series, they’ve actually been quite competitive. Through four games, they’ve actually scored more points than the Suns. Had it not been for Ayton’s dunk in game two and a historically bad shooting performance in game four, there’s a chance the Clippers could actually be up 3-1 in the series, or at the very least they could be tied at two a piece.
There’s a lot of history when it comes to 3-1 leads on this team. The Clippers have blown two separate 3-1 leads over the last few years. Meanwhile, Ty Lue led the Cavaliers to a 3-1 comeback in the NBA Finals. So, as we’ve seen, it can be done.
The Clippers won’t win the series tonight or on Wednesday, but they don’t have to. Just extend the series and anything can happen. With a win tonight, the Clippers get to travel back to Los Angeles and play in front of their home crowd, where they’ve been great all year. If they can pull off a win there, anything can truly happen in a game seven. Plus, who knows, maybe Leonard returns by then?
A lot is going to have to go right in order for the Clippers to win this series. They’ll have to be nearly perfect. With that being said, the Clippers have already made history this postseason.... why not make some more?