Phoenix Suns: 3 Los Angeles Clippers Still Crucial to Shut Down

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

Even for a team named after a gigantic ball of fire, things looked dim for the Phoenix Suns as the clock ticked down during Game 2 last night. With eight seconds left, Paul George stepped up to the free throw line, looking to extend Los Angeles’s one-point lead and secure a victory, or set up an overtime period at the very least. Breathing slowly, lining himself up right, and shooting with perfect form—he missed his first attempt.

That only pumped more gasoline into the already ablaze Phoenix crowd behind him, boiling even louder during his second attempt, which too clanked off the rim. With a few second left and the Suns miraculously down just one point, Mikal Bridges found himself open for a 3-pointer, failing to knock it down though.

After a long review period, the officials awarded Phoenix another possession following the miss, but with less than a second still to play, a ninth straight win felt doubtful for the Suns. But then, the miracle happened.

Doing his best Peyton Manning impression, Jae Crowder threw a gorgeous lob off the inbound, sending the ball just over the backboard’s top left corner, to then meet Deandre Ayton’s hands, who flushed it through the rim just before the buzzer sounded. It immediately ignited the crowd with disbelief, excitement, and utter chaos.

Due to the basket’s quick nature, the Clippers then possessed the ball with 0.7 seconds remaining, but they never managed to get off a shot. The dust finally settled, and the Suns walked away victorious once again, earning a 2-0 series lead.

Contrarily, Los Angeles now finds themselves buried under a two-game anchor. However, no team stands more accustomed to situations such as these than the Clippers, having started both the Western Conference Quarterfinals and Semifinals down two games to none.

As we all know, the Clippers rebounded almost perfectly from each deficit to get here, most recently with four straight wins over the top-seeded Utah Jazz. Due to this, one must assume that LA’s panic button remains untouched even amidst another unpleasant start.

With their grit and track record, it feels safe to call this Clippers squad the most resilient team still alive this postseason. The Suns certainly know what happened to the last two teams who went up 2-0 on the Clippers, and for that reason, they must remain focused and determined.

A good way to accomplish this? Shutting down LA’s most threatening weapons during their upcoming road trip. Looking to see more “Suns in four” chants come into fruition, Phoenix needs to start by neutralizing these three Clippers.