Defense and DBook disappear in the fourth quarter for Phoenix
After holding LA to just 22 points in the third quarter that effort and intensity could not be maintained in the fourth quarter, as the Suns gave up 34 points, the most in any quarter on the night. Had Phoenix scored 36 points in the fourth like they did in the second, the 34 against would have been okay, instead, the Suns again struggled to make buckets and ended up losing the game and homecourt in the series.
Phoenix hit just 11 of 26 shots in the fourth quarter, including going just two of eight from three-point range. The Clippers were not a lot better than the Suns, shooting 11 of 24, but did hit three three-pointers in the quarter, going 3 of 9 from distance. However, the Clippers were 9 of 9 from the free throw line, whereas the Suns only took five free throws in the fourth quarter.
Those free throws and that extra three-pointer were the difference in the game, especially the last four free throws that came after a Russell Westbrook offensive rebound and a block. That block was on Booker late, after the Suns guard passed on a potential game tying step-back three and instead drove to the bucket, where Westbrook blocked his left-handed attempt. Booker did score a meaningless hoop in the waning seconds, but he only scored four points in the quarter as our star never got going, but finished with 26 points.
With the win, the Clippers take home court from Phoenix and put the Suns behind the eight ball early. Fortunately, this is a best of seven game series and not three, but Phoenix better figure things out fast, because the Clippers have come to play and at some point, Paul George is likely going to return.