NBA playoffs: Suns’ defense stifles Clippers to take 3-1 series lead
All postseason long, the Clippers have thrived when playing from behind the eight ball. Faced with a double-digit second-half deficit on Saturday night, it seemed Game 4 would follow a similar script.
Then the Suns put the clamps on the defensive end.
The Suns held off a ferocious Clippers comeback attempt to win, 84-80, and take a 3-1 series lead to put themselves one win away from the NBA Finals.
The Clippers were held to just 14 points in the fourth quarter, as Phoenix maintained its tight guarding on the perimeter. The Clippers shot 5-for-31 on three-point attempts.
After an off night in Game 3, Suns guard Devin Booker bounced back to lead the team with 25 points on 8-for-2 shooting. He played most of the night in foul trouble and didn’t make a three-pointer, but shot 9-for-11 from the free throw line before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Suns center Deandre Ayton had 19 points, 22 rebounds and four blocked shots. Chris Paul shot 6-for-22 from the field but had a team-high seven assists with 18 points.
The Clippers never held a lead for the entire game and trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half before mounting a comeback in the third quarter. Los Angeles pulled within one point early in the fourth before the offensive flow of the game skidded to a halt, with neither team scoring for nearly four minutes of game time. The two teams combined for 29 points in the fourth quarter.
The Suns will look close out the series in Game 5 at home on Monday to make the franchise’s third NBA Finals appearance.
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