Against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, they faced a 0-2 deficit, and yet, they won the series.
Against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals, they also faced a 0-2 deficit, and yet, they won the series without Kawhi Leonard playing in the latter stage of the series.
In their first trip to the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Clippers dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series before winning Game Three at Staples Center. What made this win extra special for the Clippers is that they successfully limited Devin Booker to only 15 points on five for 21 field goal shooting.
In the first two games of the series, Booker averaged 30 points, including a 40-point explosion in the opener.
The Clippers’ Game Three victory begs the question: Can they complete the comeback for the third straight time?
The Paul George Efficiency
There’s no word yet whether or not we will see Kawhi Leonard suit up for the Clippers in the West Finals. With Leonard still out, the spotlight now goes to Paul George.
In the series opener, George erupted for 34 points but shot 38% from the field. He followed that up with 26 points in Game Two but missed two free throws that could have given them a three-point lead in the final seconds.
George finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists in Game Three. He shot nine for 26 from the field, including a three for 11 shooting from the three-point line, and had six turnovers.
The Clippers’ success in this series depends on how efficient Paul George will be for Game Four and beyond. Why?
There’s no way you can win a playoff series when you have a player who is shooting 38% from the field and 28% from the three-point line on average.
The Other Contributions
With Kawhi Leonard out and with Paul George’s shooting woes, the rest of the Clippers must pick up the slack. That’s exactly how they won Game Three.
Reggie Jackson had 23 points. Ivica Zubac came out huge with 15 points and 16 rebounds, while Terence Mann added 12 points.
If the Clippers can get contributions from everyone outside of their two stars, they can take this series.
Containing the CP3 Effect
One difference that allowed the Clippers to take Game Three was that Chris Paul was limited to 15 points in his first game back after entering the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. While many say that stopping Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton should be a priority for Tyronn Lue, the Clippers shouldn’t let a 36-year old point guard loose in Game Four to avoid entering Game Five with a 3-1 deficit.
This series is still anyone’s series. It now boils down to who will first step up in Game Four. Will Paul George finally get over his shooting woes? Will the rest of the Clippers show up again? Or are we going to see the Chris Paul Effect for Phoenix again?