Phoenix Suns: 3 Ways to Stop The Clippers From Making This a Series

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns need to stay out of foul trouble

With Payne’s injury possibly sidelining him for a game or two, the Suns need to play much smarter, primarily while defending, to avoid picking up additional fouls. E’Twaun Moore now sits behind Paul as the rotation’s next option at the guard spot, but only averages 7.3 minutes per game this postseason.

Booker fell into foul trouble early during Phoenix’s Game 3 loss, and it dictated his defensive aggressiveness all game. Jae Crowder even fouled out during the fourth quarter, sticking a fork into any comeback efforts briefly nurtured by the Suns.

Not only did both these foul situations hold Phoenix back from a defensive standpoint, but it also lead to a large free throw disparity between the Clippers and the Suns. LA earned only 17 attempts form the charity stripe during their first game, and then 18 the next. But during Game 3, they collected 24 attempts, leading to 20 points.

Playing tight, yet clean defense might be the hardest thing to do in the NBA. As a top ranked defensive team though, the Suns certainly possesses the ability to accomplish this, at least to an extent that separates them from their opponents.

Although having played very little so far during the postseason, the Suns might want to throw some more minutes at Jevon Carter, who served as solid three-and-D guy for Phoenix during the regular season. Often bothering opposing ball-handlers, Carter averaged the team’s second best steal-to-minutes ratio for the Suns prior to the playoffs. Carter also possesses raw speed and strength, allowing him to post his team’s highest defensive loose ball recovery rate at 69.2 percent.