NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game 2 reaction: Suns rip Clippers hearts out

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second half during game two of the Western Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena
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Andrew Ortenberg

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

Wow. What a finish. I was hoping for a thriller, and Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals certainly didn’t disappoint. The Phoenix Suns pulled out a miracle victory, taking a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers. Incredibly, this team is just two wins away from the NBA Finals.

It’s a devastating loss for the Clippers, who were 0.9 seconds away from evening things up before a Deandre Ayton dunk shattered their dreams. It’s a tough one to bounce back from as the series shifts to Los Angeles. Let’s dive into my two biggest takeaways, as well as what it all means from both a betting and basketball perspective:

Clippers might be finished

Like I just said, it’s hard to come back from a loss like that. Oddsmakers opened Game 3 as virtually even, but I’m leaning toward the Suns. The Clippers got their hearts ripped out, and that finish was enough to demoralize even the toughest of teams. Paul George was so close to putting his past playoff failures behind him, and then that happened.

George missed two incredibly crucial free throws with eight seconds left to set up that ending sequence. For a player who runs hot and cold in the playoffs and has lacked confidence in the postseason before, it’s a nightmare scenario. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bottom fell out in Game 3.

Los Angeles has already come back from multiple 0-2 deficits this postseason, but this one feels different. They had uniquely good matchups against the Mavericks and Jazz’s bigs that they just don’t have against Ayton. It’s anyone’s guess whether Kawhi Leonard will return, but as of right now it doesn’t look like it’ll be particularly soon.

The body language of Clippers players leaving the court said it all. If they do manage to come back it’ll be truly incredible, but I just don’t see it.

The Suns are only going to get better

It’s a best-case scenario for the Suns. They managed to go up 2-0 while playing far from their best game. Devin Booker was 5/16 from the field, and they still won. They shot 6/26 from beyond the arc as a team, and they still won. If the Clippers can’t win a game where they shoot 38 percent from three and the Suns shoot 23 percent, I don’t see how they win a game in this series.

Booker isn’t going to shoot below 33 percent from the field again. He’s not going to have more turnovers than made field goals again. Phoenix is almost certainly going to shoot quite a bit better than they did tonight in Game 3.

In addition to some positive shooting regression, it looks like the Suns are going to get a big reinforcement for Game 3. As Game 2 was starting, ESPN reported that Chris Paul was likely to return for the third game of the series.

It can’t be overstated how big of a boost that will be. They took care of business without CP3, and will now get him back with what looks like an insurmountable lead. Things are very bleak for the Clippers.

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