Phoenix Suns: 3 Keys to Finishing Off Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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The Phoenix Suns only have to beat a shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers squad one more time to make their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. Let that sink in, Suns fans.

But what happened back in 1993?

Phoenix legend Charles Barkley was the league MVP. The late, great Paul Westphal coached the the team there, making their first trip to the Finals since 1976, when he led Phoenix on an improbable run as a player.

Our Suns are close though, already up 3-1 with Game 5 set to tipoff tonight. But as Suns coach Monty Williams is fond of saying, they must not be happy on the farm.

The Phoenix Suns did not play well in Game 4.

The Suns scored 34 points in the entire second half, while shooting 36.0 percent from the field, and 20.0 percent from 3-point range during the entire game. Devin Booker and Chris Paul shot a combined 14-44, simply unable to buy a basket down the stretch, even if they were more or less given away.

Phoenix’s only saving grace was Deandre Ayton, who shut down the Clippers defensively, often forcing them to take contested jump shots. I cannot believe I am typing this, but the Clippers only scored 14 points during the fourth quarter. That amount of points scored in a quarter does not exactly happen too often in the NBA. But it was Ayton’s monstrous paint presence as the driving factor behind LA’s historically bad night.

Defense wins championships! But will defense win Game 5 for the Suns? I doubt it! The Clippers will undoubtedly improve their shooting from Game 4 (32.5 percent from the field and 16.1 percent from 3-point range), and they will make the right adjustments to manufacture enough points to compete. I also think they will figure out a way to force Ayton out of the paint to open up the lane.

The Suns can certainly counter with their own defensive adjustments. But I really think the Clippers are due for a masterful offensive performance tonight.

So offense is important for the Suns to win Game 5. In accordance with this, here are three keys for the Phoenix Suns to score enough points to vanquish the Clippers tonight, and make the NBA Finals.