The win brought the series to 3-2 in favor of the Suns, with Paul George posting a double-double, including 41 points — a career high in the playoffs — to lead the way for the Clippers and extend the season at least one more game.
With Ivica Zubac joining the ranks of the injured and out for the Clippers with an MCL sprain, Ty Lue started George, Reggie Jackson, Patrick Beverley, Marcus Morris Sr. and Terance Mann. So the team went for super small, essentially out of necessity.
The Clippers raced out to a 7-0 lead to open the game before Devon Booker hit a wide-open 3-pointer on his first shot of the game for Phoenix. LA threw another wrinkle to start Game 5, playing in a zone defensively with needing to concede size early.
But the Suns woke up after the first break, and came back to significantly narrow the Clippers’ big lead. Still, LA held on to maintain their edge through the 1st quarter, leading 36-26 after a buzzer-beater lay-up by Jackson.
DeMarcus Cousins had a big say early in the game as the only experienced big on the Clippers, and he had 10 points in the first 14 minutes of the game off the bench, as he went to work on Phoenix reserve center Dario Saric.
But the Suns continued to chip away at their deficit and got to within two points with a little under 8:00 left in the quarter. Nevertheless, the Clippers stayed the course and continued to stay up as the 2nd quarter wound down.
In fact, they got a little more distance, leading by seven at halftime, 59-52, which would have been a 10-point lead if not for a great buzzer-beater by Booker off a hook and ladder in-bounds set.
The game tightened up in the 3rd quarter, the Clippers finding shots harder to come by but still keeping their edge. Midway through the quarter, Beverley and Chris Paul got tangled up in a Suns possession,
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Paul hitting the deck awkwardly and a long review resulting in a Flagrant 1 foul call against Beverley, although that looked harsh. The foul and ensuing possession for Phoenix narrowed the deficit five points.
But LA didn’t quit and immediately grabbed a couple quick baskets to take the lead back to nine points. Then Beverley hit a 3-pointer to take the lead up to 12 points for the Clippers. They finished the quarter even better, leading 91-78 through 36 minutes.
The Clippers continued to lead in the final quarter but the Suns just wouldn’t go away, with Booker really pushing to keep the home team in the game throughout.