LOS ANGELES — Paul George scored 27 factors and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in a dominant third quarter, beating newly returned Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns 106-92 on Thursday evening in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
The Clippers lower their collection deficit to 2-1, ending the Suns’ franchise-record playoff successful streak at 9 video games.
“Our guys keep grinding, keep fighting,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue mentioned. “We never give in.”
Kawhi Leonard remained out with a proper knee sprain, leaving George to carry the load once more. After lacking two essential free throws in a one-point loss in Game 2, George had 15 rebounds and eight assists and performed a game-high 43 minutes. He made 6 of seven free throws.
“PG did a great job of just moving on and having a great game for us,” Lue mentioned.
The Suns acquired Paul again after he missed the primary two video games whereas being sidelined since June 16 due to the NBA’s well being and security protocols. The former Clipper, who was booed heartily throughout intros, had 15 factors and 12 assists, however was 5 of 19 from the sphere.
Cameron Payne, who so ably stuffed in for Paul within the first two video games, went down with a left ankle damage after enjoying 4 minutes and didn’t return.
Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned he performed Paul an excessive amount of in his first sport again.
“Probably got tired,” Williams mentioned, “but it hurt us when Cam couldn’t come back so I left Chris out there for a longer stretch and that’s on me.”
Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 18 factors.
Reggie Jackson added 23 factors for the Clippers, and Ivica Zubac had 15 factors and tied his profession playoff excessive with 16 rebounds.
Game 4 is Saturday evening at Staples Center.
After Phoenix gained the primary two video games by a mixed seven factors, the groups performed an in depth first half. George pumped up the Clippers going into the locker room with a thunderous one-handed dunk.
“That probably killed their momentum a little bit,” Jackson mentioned. “We’re fortunate to have a guy like that that can do a little bit of everything.”
Los Angeles shortly went to work within the second half in entrance of 17,222 raucous, Thunder Stix-pounding followers.
They took management with the largest run of the sport, a 21-3 spurt that left them main 71-56 within the third. Terance Mann acquired it going with six straight factors and Jackson scored 4 in a row earlier than George scored inside. Zubac dunked off George’s cross and made a pair of free throws. The Suns had been restricted to a 3-pointer by Paul.
“They just brought it,” Williams mentioned. “We just didn’t match their force.”
Devin Booker picked up his third and fourth fouls in a 42-second span through the Clippers’ run. Booker — sporting a transparent masks to shield his nostril that required stitches after he and Patrick Beverley banged heads in Game 2 — was 5 of 21 from the sphere, making solely one among seven 3-point tries, and completed with 15 factors.
Jae Crowder, who assisted on Deandre Ayton’s successful dunk on Tuesday, fouled out with 4:51 remaining. He had 9 factors, six rebounds and 6 assists.
The Suns had been simply 35 of 90 from the ground, regardless of getting first rate appears.
“We weren’t sound at all,” Williams mentioned. “They played good defense, but we didn’t run our offense the way that we have been running for most of the playoffs.”
George capped the third by banking in a 3-pointer from simply inside midcourt, and it beat the buzzer, gorgeous the followers and sending the Clippers into the fourth main 80-69. He practically bobbled the ball alongside the suitable sideline, with Booker and Cam Johnson pressuring, earlier than getting the shot off.
Luke Kennard opened the fourth with a 3 from the suitable nook, getting fouled and making the free throw. Marcus Morris hit a 3 earlier than George acquired fouled. He confidently made each, protecting the Clippers forward 89-71.
Booker’s basket drew the Suns inside six, however Jackson answered with 5 straight factors and George made a pair of free throws.