Los Angeles Clippers keep series alive against Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles, Tuesday
Paul George scored 41 points as the Los Angeles Clippers kept their NBA Western Conference finals series alive with a battling 116-102 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday.
With the Suns poised to clinch a series victory in front of an expectant home crowd, George once again put the Clippers on his back to stave off elimination from the postseason.
The Clippers talisman exploded for 20 points alone in the third quarter to take the game away from Phoenix, who took a fleeting lead midway through the period with a Chris Paul jump shot.
It was the only time Phoenix held the lead throughout game five, and the Clippers can now level the series at 3-3 with a victory in game six in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“That’s just who we are -- we fight, we’re scrappy, we leave everything on the line and we do it together,” George said of the Clippers’ never-say-die approach. “That’s the most important thing -- we do it together.”
De facto leader
The win marked the third time during these playoffs that the Clippers have won an elimination game, and Monday’s win came without several starters including the injured Kawhi Leonard.
“All season long we’ve been down guys, guys have been out, different guys have been stepping up and playing well,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.
“I keep saying this group is resilient -- but this group really is...We’re a good team no matter who’s on the floor.
The group. “Work’s not done. But we came into a hostile environment and got a greedy win without three of our starters.
“Now we’ve got to do it again two more times.” George, who has stepped up as de facto team leader in the absence of the injured Kawhi Leonard, was in commanding form once more on Monday after a quiet first half performance.
The Clippers star went 15-of-20 from the floor with three three-pointers, 13 rebounds and six assists.
“I haven’t shot the ball well this whole series,” George said of his second-half display.
“At some point I had to have a breakthrough. My teammates have been carrying me, and tonight I had to come through.” - AFP