With the game on the line, Chris Paul watching at home and Devin Booker banged up, the Phoenix Suns had helped from some unexpected places in their 104-103 Game Two win on Tuesday night. Cameron Payne had a career night while Deandre Ayton continued to dominate inside, allowing the Suns to take a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.
In what was another close contest, the Suns took a 25-22 lead after the first quarter and had that shrink to just one point at halftime, going in up 48-47 at the main break.
With the Clippers testing them throughout, the Suns were able to extend their margin to four points, leading 75-71 heading into the final period. LA asserted themselves more, even stealing the lead at stages, including leading 103-102 with just seconds remaining but an out of bounds, alley up play for Ayton gave the Suns the win and 2-0 series lead.
Battling a slow start and poor shooting, the Clippers’ All Star, Paul George, turned things on in the fourth, scoring 10 of his 26 points in the final period to give the Clippers a chance. Unfortunately, he may be the reason they were unable to hold on, missing a pair of free throws, that would have extended their lead to three, with just eight seconds left.
Reggie Jackson made a game high three triples, but only managed 19 points, with no other LA player scoring 20+ to assist George in that area.
With Devin Booker shooting just 5-16 from the field and battling a cut, and potentially broken, nose, Phoenix needed their role players to step up. Ayton had yet another double double, finishing with 24 points, 14 rebounds and a block, while Payne had a career night to ensure the Suns got the victory. Shooting 50% from the field, Payne finished with a career high 29 points, also adding nine assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Suns now lead the series, 2-0, heading into Thursday’s Game 3 showdown in Los Angeles. Phoenix have now won nine games in a row, however this is the third straight series the Clippers have lost the first two games and it didn’t seem to phase them against the Mavs or Jazz. Game Three is massive for both clubs, but who will come out on top? We will just have to wait and see!