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The Phoenix Suns grabbed a commanding 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals after a thrilling 84-80 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of their best-of-seven series. (Photo : Jill Rose from Pixabay)
The Phoenix Suns moved to within a victory of the NBA Finals after a heart-stopping 84-80 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Saturday night. Deandre Ayton starred for the Suns who now head back to Phoenix for Game 5 with a commanding 3-1 series lead.
What promised to be a shootout between the Suns and the Clippers in Game 4 turned into a defensive slugfest as both teams struggled mightily to put some points on the board. It was the Suns, however, who emerged victorious in the end, outscoring the Clips, 15-14, in the final quarter.
Suns grab win despite poor Game 4 shooting
It’s amazing how the Suns managed to pull off that win even with their abysmal shooting. The 84 points that the Suns scored in the Game 4 victory were the fewest of any winning team in the NBA this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. They shot just 24.4% from the field in the second half of Game 4, the second-worst field goal percentage in the second half of a playoff victory over the past 25 postseasons.
The Clippers looked like they were on the verge of another comeback win in the playoffs after a fiery third quarter explosion. After shooting just 13 of 44 from the field in the first half and trailing by as much as 13 points in the third quarter, the Clippers made their patented run, going on a 20-10 blast to trail by just three points heading into the fourth quarter.
Paul George sliced the Suns’ lead to just one, 71-70, after he sank two free throws. Unfortunately for George and the Clips, they could not get over the hump as both teams went ice cold from that point onwards, with the score not moving for minutes.
It helped Phoenix that Ayton did have a solid outing in Game 4. He scored 19 points, grabbed a career play-off high 22 rebounds, blocked four shots and dished out three assists in 41 minutes of action. The third-year big man has been unstoppable in this series, averaging 20.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks through the first four games against the Clippers.
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Ayton credits Chris Paul for star turn in playoffs
Ayton credited his development this season to Chris Paul in the post-match interview, saying, “I love CP, man. Like I said, that’s really the only teammate that really push me. Like big bro type push. Knowing what I got and that I ain’t never thought that I had. I think he was the best thing that happened to my career. I can say that every day.”
Paul made sure Ayton’s efforts in Game 4 did not go to waste, going 5 of 6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win for Phoenix. Paul, who finished with 18 points in Game 4, is now just a win away from reaching the first NBA Finals of his glittering 16-year career.
Don’t tell that to Paul, though, who uttered, “Not until the job is done,” moments after the Game 4 win.
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