It’s an win or go home contest in the Western Conference Finals on the hardwood in the City of Angels. The top-seeded Phoenix Suns are on the road as they travel to face the fourth-seeded LA Clippers in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series Wednesday night. Playing at home, Phoenix claimed Game 1 of the series, taking a 120-114 win at home on Sunday night. The Suns followed that up with a last-second 104-103 home victory Tuesday night in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series advantage. LA took Game 3 106-92 at home Thursday before the Suns extended to a 3-1 series lead with an 84-80 road win Saturday in Game 4. In Game 5 on the road with their backs to the wall, the Clippers earned a 116-102 win Monday to extend the series. This marks the second time the teams have met in the postseason: the Suns own a 7-5 edge in head-to-head playoff wins. In the previous series, the Suns prevailed in seven games in the 2006 Western Conference semifinals. Will Phoenix reach the NBA Finals for the first time since the days of Sir Charles or can the Clippers force a winner take all Game 7?
Phoenix Suns Looking for First NBA Finals Since 1992-93Phoenix perhaps was a bit complacent in Game 5 at home and it cost them as the Clippers put the boots to them to extend the series. The Suns now try again to earn the critical fourth win that will send them to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1992-93 season. In Game 5, Phoenix was blitzed as they trailed 7-0 just 1:15 into the contest and they trailed by as many as 15 in the opening quarter. The Suns were down 10 after one quarter and by seven at the half, though they rallied to take their lone lead at 62-61 with 8:27 to play in the third quarter. Phoenix gave up a 10-0 run over the next two and a half minutes to trail by nine and couldn’t get closer than four after that. The Suns shot 45.2% from the field, including nine of 26 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 14 times in the contest. Devin Booker led Phoenix with 31 points in the loss.
The Suns enter this contest 11th in scoring offense in the postseason with an average of 107.5 points per game. Phoenix stands 4th in rebounding with an average of 43.9 boards a night while they are third by dishing out an average of 24.3 assists per contest. The Suns are first in the league in postseason scoring defense as they surrender only 101.8 points a night. Devin Booker leads the team in the playoffs by averaging 27.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists a night. Deandre Ayton (16.2 points, 11.4 rebounds), Cameron Payne (10.3 points) and Jae Crowder (9.9 points) have been solid contributors offensively. Chris Paul (16.3 points, 8.8 assists), Mikal Bridges (10.9 points), Cameron Johnson, Torrey Craig, Dario Saric and E’Twaun Moore all have the potential to have big nights as well. Phoenix is sixth in field goal percentage in the playoffs as they hit 47.1% from the floor as a team. The Suns are 12th by splashing an average of 10.9 three-pointers a night while they are eighth in three-point shooting by hitting 36.1% from beyond the arc in the postseason.
LA Clippers Try to Force Game 7LA went down 2-0 in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs but rallied to win those series. In this series, the Clippers went down 2-0 again and then trailed 3-1 in the series, meaning that they had to win three straight to reach the NBA Finals. LA took the first step by jumping on the Suns in Game 5 and then knocking them out with a third-quarter run. The Clippers led 7-0 75 seconds into the game and 20-5 with 6:29 to play in the opening quarter. LA was up 10 after one quarter, by seven at the half and used a 10-0 run to erase a one-point deficit to lead 71-62 midway through the third quarter. The Clippers didn’t let their lead slip below four after that. LA shot 54.8% from the field, including 10 of 30 from three-point range, and were edged on the glass by a 41-40 margin. Paul George poured in a playoff career-high 41 points to go with 13 rebounds and six assists in the win to lead the Clippers.
The Clippers enter this one eighth among postseason teams in scoring offense as they average 112.1 points per contest. LA is tied for 12th in rebounding with 41.7 boards a night while they stand 11th in assists by dishing out 20.9 dimes a night. The Clippers are sixth in scoring defense as they surrender 106.3 points a night in the postseason. Kawhi Leonard leads the team as he averages 30.4 points plus 7.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest. Paul George (27.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists) and Reggie Jackson (18.1 points) have been solid secondary scoring options. Marcus Morris Sr. (11.4 points), Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, DeMarcus Cousins, Ivica Zubac, Terance Mann, Rajon Rondo and Patrick Beverley all need to step up their game for coach Tyronn Lue’s group. LA is shooting 48% from the floor in the playoffs, putting them second among the playoff field. The Clippers are fourth by knocking down an average of 13.9 three-pointers per contest while they stand fifth by shooting 38.5% from beyond the arc as a team in the postseason. Serge Ibaka (back) is out for the remainder of the playoffs as he underwent back surgery. Leonard suffered a knee injury in Game 4 against the Jazz and has missed the last seven games. He currently remains out on a game-to-game basis.
- Clippers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
- Clippers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
- Clippers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games
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