Deandre Aton Had a Monster Game But the Clippers Had Their Chances
- The Phoenix Suns defeated the L.A. Clippers 84-80 to take a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.
- Deadre Ayton had a monster game with 19 points, 22 rebounds, and four blocked shots.
- Phoenix is now just one games away from their first Finals appearance since 1993.
It wasn’t pretty, but Monty Williams will take a win in any form.
The Phoenix Suns defeated the L.A. Clippers 84-80 in a low-scoring game that saw both teams struggle to make baskets.
Phoenix and L.A. combined to shoot just 58-169 from the field with neither squads hitting more than 36% of their shots.
This was the second game in this series where the Clippers could’ve won if they made their free throws. L.A. lost Game 2 after Paul George’s infamous missed free throws in the end game. On Saturday night, the Clippers missed a total of 11 free throws in a game they lost by just four.
Monster Game From Ayton
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 27, 2021
Deandre Ayton had monster game to help the Suns win Game 3. The former no. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft scored 19 points, grabbed 22 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots. Ayton’s 22 rebounds is the third most by any Suns player in the playoffs after Charles Barkley’s 24 and 23. His nine offensive rebounds in the game were also the most by a Suns player since Charles Barkley grabbed 10 offensive board on June 5, 1993.
Ayton also joined Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in the history of the NBA playoffs to put up a statline of 19+ points, 22+ rebounds, 4+blocks, and 57% shooting in a postseason game. He has made at least 50% of his field goal attempts in each of his fist 13 playoff games, breaking a tie with Cedric Maxwell for the longest such streak to start his postseason career.
While it’s been Devin Booker and Chris Paul getting a lot of press mileage for the Suns’ success in the playoffs, Deandre Ayton has been the glue of this team. Aside from his game-winning oop in Game 2, Ayton has been sensational for the Suns in the Conference Finals, putting up 20.3 points, 13.5 rebounds ( including 4.8 offensive boards ) 1.8 blocks per game on a 59.6% true shooting percentage.
Hard to Win Game When You Shoot That Poorly
Clippers final shooting stats:
27-83 FGs (33%)
5-31 3FGs (16%)
21-32 FTs (66%)
Hard to win games when you shoot that poorly
— Sandeep Chandok (@sandeepchandok) June 27, 2021
Despite Ayton’s big night, it wasn’t that the Suns dominated Game 4 as much as they merely survived a furious Clippers’ rally. Known this postseason as a team which plays better when their backs are against the wall, the Clippers once again fell down big early and then finished strong, only this time they came up short.
After Phoenix took a 14 point lead at the half, the Clippers stormed back to cut the lead to three at the start of the fourth quarter. L.A. got to within one at 71-70 but it seemed like forever until either team scored after that. The Clippers’ defense was fantastic and they surely had their chances. But they just couldn’t hit the baskets down the stretch.
The Clippers were 0-12 in shots that would’ve given them the lead or tied the game in Game 4. That’s the most such attempts without a make in the 4th quarter of a playoff game in the last 25 seasons. The Clippers finished the game shooting 27-83 from the field, 5-31 from behind the three-point arc, and 21-32 from the free throw line. It’s hard to win close games when a team shoots like that.
One Win Away
PHOENIX WINS GAME 4!
THE SUNS ARE ONE WIN AWAY FROM THE FINALS 😱 pic.twitter.com/e6UKlrfA8j
— ESPN (@espn) June 27, 2021
With their Game 4 win, the Suns are now just one win away from going to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. Chris Paul is also one win away from playing in his first-ever NBA championship series in 16 NBA seasons.
The Suns now head to Monday’s Game 5 at the Phoenix Suns Arena as six-point betting favorites at the BetOnline App to send the Clippers packing. Phoenix is also a massive -2500 to win the series. In the history of the NBA, only 13 out of 264 teams or 4.9% that were down 3-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series have been able to come back and win the series.
However, the Clippers can take solace in the fact that the last team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series was the Denver Nuggets of last season, who did it twice. The second of those was against the Clippers, so they know first hand that it’s not impossible to do because they were on the other side of the fence last season. Knowing is one thing however, and doing it is another. Without Kawhi Leonard, it’s going to be tough to ask this Clippers team to do that. But this is the NBA playoffs where impossible is nothing.