NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game 5 reaction: Clippers gut out impressive win, extend series
I have to admit, I thought the Phoenix Suns would close out the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night. But say whatever you want about this Clippers team, one thing nobody can deny is that they’re gutsy. They’re one of the most resilient teams I can recall seeing in recent years.
After everyone wrote their obituary once again, the Clippers went on the road and pulled out a 116-102 win over the Suns. They narrowed the series to 3-2, and will have a chance to extend the Western Conference Finals to a Game 7 when it continues in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
From a betting perspective, Los Angeles easily covered the spread and the total went over by a couple of points. Let’s break down everything we just saw:
The Clippers can’t be fazed
This Clippers team needs to be given all the credit for their mental toughness. It’s a significant testament to Ty Lue’s coaching ability, and we’ve all got to tip our caps. This team has dealt with relentless series deficits and injuries to key players, and they’ve bounced back every time.
First they got down 2-0 to Dallas, and won in seven games. Then they got down 2-0 to Utah, and won four straight. They closed out the Jazz series without Kawhi Leonard, and were without both Leonard and center Ivica Zubac on Monday night.
Whatever is thrown this team’s way, they certainly don’t fold. That’s more than a lot of other teams can say. Nobody can say what will happen next, but the Clippers have already put up a heck of a fight no matter what. If they pull off the 3-1 comeback, it’s not hyperbole to say this will be one of the most legendary playoff runs in NBA history.
PAUL GEORGE WHY YOU GOTTA DO THAT TO CHRIS PAUL 🥴
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) June 29, 2021
Chris Paul and Devin Booker need to figure it out
The Suns bought themselves a bit of a leash by going up 3-1, but that’s gone now. Phoenix was fortunate to go up 3-1, because they certainly didn’t play their best basketball to get there. Booker and Paul have both been really struggling, and they’re out of time to figure things out.
Booker made some threes (for the first time in seemingly forever), but he was just 5/16 on twos. He was 8/22 overall in Game 4, 5/21 in Game 3, and 5/16 in Game 2. Paul was 0/6 from beyond the arc on Monday night, and was terrible offensively in Games 3 and 4 as well.
The Suns can’t beat the Clippers without their two stars stepping up. Deandre Ayton showed in Game 5 that he’s not the type to carry a team. They certainly can’t rely on role players like Cameron Payne forever.
Booker is going to need to prove he belongs among the league’s elite and take over a game. If he does the Suns will be headed back to the NBA Finals. If he doesn’t, the Clippers might just erase another big deficit.