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
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Game 5 Key #3: Pushing the pace

A faster pace usually benefits the home team. The faster the game, the more points are scored; the more points are scored, the more raucous the crowd will get. I think we saw this play out in Los Angeles, when several Clippers fans fell asleep in the doldrums of Game 4, where nobody could hit a shot midway through the fourth quarter.

Speeding up the game’s tempo would help the Suns far more than the Clippers. Although they are among the league’s slowest teams in terms of pace, the Suns have thrived in a fast-paced game when the situation calls for it. For instance, they ran the Lakers out of the gym in Games 5 and 6 in the first round when they started with quick attacks meant to push the ball down the court.

The Clippers have a strong defense and are very athletic, yet their athleticism translates better to half-court defense as opposed to their fast break offense. Even with prolific scorers such as Reggie Jackson and George, they do not necessarily thrive in transition. Most Clipper players are better in a half-court setting.

Contrarily, many of Phoenix’s key players are better in transition. Ayton can beat Ivica Zubac down the court anytime he wants. Mikal Bridges can outrun any Clippers wing, and no Clippers guard could to stay in front of Cam Payne, that is until he injured his ankle in Game 3.

Ultimately, I think there is an opportunity for the Suns to run a lot more in Game 5 than in the previous two contests. Remember, the Clippers are missing Kawhi Leonard. With them so injury-depleted, they simply do not have the firepower to keep up with a Suns roster at full strength. I hope Paul sees that, and pushes the pace early and often.


The Phoenix Suns have 48 minutes to earn the right to represent the West in the NBA Finals. For a team that had not made the playoffs for 10 years prior, this is an unbelievable accomplishment. Making the NBA Finals truly is on the other side of hard, as Monty Williams would be apt to say.

Three Players on the Clippers the Phoenix Suns Must Shut Down. dark. Next

Yet, the series is not over. The Suns and their vibrant home crowd must impose their will on the Clippers to punch their tickets to the Finals.

Bottom line: if the Suns can make the right offensive adjustments, they will win Game 5. If not, this will go down as yet another nail biter.