Mon, 28 Sep 2020

Booker, Suns sink Clips at buzzer to win 3rd straight

Field Level Media
05 Aug 2020, 09:05 GMT+10

Devin Booker's buzzer-beating, turnaround jumper as time expired capped a 35-point effort, and the Phoenix Suns knocked off the Los Angeles Clippers, 117-115, in Tuesday's seeding-round matchup.

The Suns (29-39) extended their perfect start in the Orlando-area bubble restart, winning their third straight and keeping hopes of a surprise run to the playoffs alive.

Phoenix jumped ahead in the first quarter when Booker sank three of his six made 3-pointers over a two-minute stretch. The Suns fell behind in the late second quarter before back-to-back Cameron Payne 3-pointers reclaimed an edge they maintained much of the second half.

Payne finished with 12 points off the bench and was one of five Suns to score in double-figures. Deandre Ayton scored 19 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists, Ricky Rubio added 18 points and four assists, and Dario Saric chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Led by Booker's 6-of-9 performance, Phoenix shot a blistering 53.1 percent from behind the 3-point line. Both Rubio and Mikal Bridges, who finished with nine points, went 3 of 4 from deep.

Conversely, the Clippers (45-22) shot a dismal 8 of 29 from long range. Kawhi Leonard went 2 of 4 from outside en route to a team-high 27 points, and JaMychal Green shot 2 of 4 beyond the arc for 10 points.

No other Clipper made more than one 3-pointer. Paul George, whose 23 points were second on the team, shot finished 1 of 7 from behind the 3-point line and 6 of 17 from the floor in total.

Although the Suns capitalized on their hot shooting and the Clippers going cold, their second-half lead never surpassed 11 points. As the Clippers remained in striking distance, Leonard stepped up with six points in the final 3:03.

His two made free throws with 31.3 remaining negated Booker's tie-breaking floater a possession earlier, but Booker got another shot at closing it out after a Bridges steal with eight seconds left.

Phoenix came into the Orlando-area bubble with the worst record among the Western Conference teams, but remains alive for the playoffs after a 3-0 start. The Suns sit three games behind No. 8-seed Memphis, but will need to help to pass New Orleans, San Antonio and Portland to sneak into the play-in series.

--Field Level Media

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