Even with out Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers had all the solutions for Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns on Sunday evening.
The Clippers narrowly escaped the Footprint Center with a 115-110 win in Game 1 of their opening spherical collection with the Suns on Sunday evening. The Clippers, after a decent battle via a lot of the competition, got here up with an enormous cease on the finish. Thanks to some heroics from Russell Westbrook, they’ve taken the early bounce within the collection.
Westbrook, with the Clippers up by three within the ultimate seconds, blocked Devin Booker on the rim after which one way or the other managed to slap the ball into Booker’s leg earlier than it landed out of bounds. That received them the ball again, and ultimately led them to the five-point win.
The angle from beneath the rim confirmed simply how shut Booker was to truly getting the shot off. Westbrook simply barely received there.
Durant and the Suns received off to a little bit of a sluggish begin, and the Clippers took full benefit early. The Clippers held Phoenix to only 18 factors within the first quarter, and so they flew forward to an enormous 16-point lead earlier than halftime. It wasn’t till an enormous run within the third that the Suns lastly fought again in it.
Phoenix used an enormous 15-0 run within the third quarter, which pushed it to a nine-point lead, its first for the reason that opening minutes of the sport. That didn’t final lengthy, because the Clippers tied issues up once more shortly to finish the third.
The Clippers jumped forward by 4 factors briefly early on within the fourth, however that was as large of a lead as they might get. Finally, although, Leonard took over. Leonard hit back-to-back 3-pointers, after which backed down Chris Paul earlier than dishing to Eric Gordon for a 3rd 3-pointer — which put them up by six.
A Durant 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Paul, nonetheless, introduced the Suns again inside a single level with 68 seconds left.
It was Westbrook that drew a foul and received to the free throw line with 17 seconds left after the Suns failed twice to make a cease. Westbrook hit each of them, which put the Clippers up by three and arrange one ultimate shot for the Suns.
That’s when Westbrook got here up along with his cease, and ultimately secured the win.
Durant practically had a triple-double in his first playoff sport with the Suns. He completed with 27 factors, 11 assists and 9 rebounds in 45 minutes. Booker completed with 26 factors after capturing 10-of-19 from the sphere, and Paul added seven factors with 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Leonard dropped 38 factors for the Clippers, and Gordon added 19 factors after capturing 50% from the sphere. Westbrook completed simply shy of a triple-double, too, with 9 factors, 10 rebounds and eight assists — although he shot simply 3-of-19 from the sphere.
“It’s timing. It’s the desire to win,” Westbrook mentioned of his rebounding efficiency. “We needed to make performs, understanding time, rating and possession. At this place, humbly talking, no person [is] a greater rebounder than me.”
George is predicted to overlook your complete first collection resulting from a proper knee damage for the Clippers. George missed the final 9 video games of the common season for the Clippers recovering, and isn’t able to return. He averaged 23.8 factors, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 56 video games this season.
Game 2 of the collection is about for Tuesday evening in Phoenix.