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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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Game 5 Key #1: Run the offense through Deandre Ayton

Paul and Booker shot a combined 14-44 in Game 4. I would say at least 20 of those 30 misses from the field were mid-range jump shots that fell just short. Leaving jumpers short is a telltale sign of fatigue. To be fair though, this is somewhat expected when going this far in the playoffs! This beautiful shot by Paul though was one of the few exceptions to that rule.

Coach Williams has found a lot of creative ways to get Paul and Booker open looks via the pick-and-roll with Ayton. The two guards are both so masterful in terms of controlling the game, that it makes no sense to run the offense through anyone else.

But now Coach Williams has another viable option: running the offense through Ayton. Ayton dominating his man in the post will get Paul and Booker easy catch-and-shoot looks, especially whenever the Clippers play Nicolas Batum as an undersized center. I would even use the “horns action” (where Ayton screens for another player at the elbow) to get Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder driving lanes to the hoop against the slower Marcus Morris or the overtaxed Paul George.

At the very least, running the offense through Ayton will save Paul and Booker’s legs so they can take over the fourth quarter, rather than going hard all game and leading to another barrage of short-falling jumpers. The Suns need to start this one differently than how they finished in Game 4, where their offense went very stagnant. It cannot be assumed Paul and Booker will bounce back after they had two straight off-nights.

If the Suns can keep all five guys involved on offense, that will be a problem for the Clippers. But what else has been a problem for Los Angeles?