The Los Angeles Clippers try to get back in the Western Conference Finals when they host the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 on Thursday. Deandre Ayton had 24 points for the Suns on and none bigger than his last two that came with 0.9 seconds left to give the Suns the 104-103 win over the Clippers.
Just when it looked like the Clippers were going to steal Game 2 with an assist from the referees, the Suns stunned them to take a 2-0 series lead without Chris Paul. After Paul George missed a pair of free-throws, after hitting a pair of go-ahead baskets, the Suns retained possession after a missed shot from Devin Booker. A lengthy review took place and the Suns kept the ball. Head coach Monty Williams then called a play that will go down as one of the best in franchise history and former No. 1 pick, Ayton, hit the biggest bucket of his career in what has been a breakout playoff performance for him.
Cameron Payne continued his redemption season by leading the Suns with a career-high 29 points to go along with nine assists and Devin Booker scored 20 points with five assists and four rebounds in a tough 5-for-16 shooting night. Paul George finished with 26 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Clippers and Reggie Jackson added 19 points and five rebounds. Game 3 will take place on Thursday at 9:00 PM ET at STAPLES Center.
Team to Win (Regular Time)
• Phoenix Suns: 1.99
• Los Angeles Clippers: 1.90
• Phoenix Suns: +1.5 (1.84)
• Los Angeles Clippers: -1.5 (1.97)
• Over 218.5 (1.90)
• Under 218.5 (1.90)
Key Points to Consider
Paul George is the player to watch in Game 3. He was about to permanently kill all playoff narratives against him. The run George was on going into that was like “this is my year, deal with it” and then everything crashed after the two free-throws he missed. Now these next two games will tell his story.
A difference-maker for the Suns has been Deandre Ayton, not just for Tuesday’s game-winner. Ayton’s game is very developable, he has good hands, can pace himself, is physical…but has a touch and jumper. Reps and studying the game is all he needs to get even better at this point. He was the perfect first pick for the Suns and to co-star with Booker. Ayton is going to be a monster for years to come. He has traditional big man skill, but moves like a modern big. With the Suns optimistic that Chris Paul will return for Game 3 and the Clippers still without Kawhi Leonard, can LA defend their home court?
The Over is 11-3 in Phoenix’s last 14 road games, 11-5-1 in Phoenix’s last 17 games following a straight up win, 5-2 in Los Angeles’ last seven games overall and 5-2 in Los Angeles’ last seven games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
For the Suns, Devin Booker is expected to score 28.0 points with 7.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds, making 9.0 field goals in 21.4 attempts.
For the Clippers, Paul George is projected to finish with 26.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists, making 8.2 field goals in 19.3 attempts.
Three-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick on the total in this one. Average score in simulations is Los Angeles Clippers 110.4 to Phoenix Suns 109.2.
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