Chris Paul grateful to be back from COVID-19 absence but not satisfied with performance in Phoenix Suns' loss


ESPN 25 June, 2021 - 02:15am 23 views

Who will win Suns vs Clippers?

George leads Clippers over Paul and Suns, 106-92 in Game 3. NBA.comPhoenix Suns vs LA Clippers Jun 24, 2021 Game - Scores, Stats & Highlights

Is Chris Paul playing Game 3?

Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul passes exam, cleared to return for Game 3 vs. LA Clippers, according to report. ... Paul had missed the first two games of the series after entering the NBA's COVID-19 protocol last week. Game 3 is Thursday at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN). USA TODAYPhoenix Suns' Chris Paul passes exam, cleared to return for Game 3 vs. LA Clippers, according to report

Why is Devin Booker wearing a mask?

Booker is wearing the mask to protect his nose after picking up an injury in Game 2. He did not miss any time due to the injury and is expected to be a big part of Phoenix's plans to take a 3-0 series lead in the Western conference finals. DraftKings NationDevin Booker face mask: Check out Suns G rocking mask to protect nose injury in Game 3 vs. Clippers [VIDEO]

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How to watch live stream online: You can watch the game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game on Hulu + Live (free trial) or Sling TV (promotional offers) or AT&T TV (promotional offers), if you are out of FuboTV trials, or simply prefer those platforms and their pricing plans. oregonlive.comLos Angeles Clippers vs Phoenix Suns free live stream, Game 3 score, odds, time, TV channel, how to watch NBA

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is officially available for Game 3 against the LA Clippers, the team announced Thursday.

Paul had been in the league's health and safety protocols since June 16 and missed the first two games of the Western Conference finals against the Clippers.

Phoenix leads the series 2-0. Game 3 is Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Before being sidelined, the 36-year-old Paul had averaged 25.5 points on 62.7% shooting while dishing out 41 assists against five turnovers in a four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the second round.

Meanwhile, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for Thursday's game. He hasn't played since June 14 because of a sprained right knee.

Read full article at ESPN

Chris Paul & Paul George Were Talking Trash In Game 3

Bleacher Report 25 June, 2021 - 05:02am

Clippers' Game 3 adjustments vs. Suns started with Tyronn Lue calling players after plane ride

USA TODAY 25 June, 2021 - 05:02am

After falling behind 2-0 yet again, Clippers coach Ty Lue called his key players with some motivation as soon as they got back to Los Angeles.

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports' Mark Medina breaks down how Paul George can step up to the challenge of leading the Clippers in the absence of Kawhi Leonard during the Western Conference finals. USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers had just landed in this city, mere hours after spending an entire plane ride digesting their second loss to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals.

So as soon as he hopped into his car, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue already plotted in-game adjustments. Before he would watch game footage, Lue called players individually with a simple message.

"The game is over. It happens. It doesn’t mean anything," Lue recalled saying. "They took care of their two games at home. Now we have to take care of our two games. We can’t look in the past. We have to look ahead."

It's perhaps a stretch to say that Lue’s phone conversations were the only reason why the Clippers finished with a 106-92 Game 3 win over Phoenix on Thursday at Staples Center. But it captured how the Clippers responded appropriately to a 0-2 series deficit for three consecutive playoff series.

"It’s special, the relationship I have with T and relationship that T-Lue has with everyone on this team in general," George said. "It says a lot about him."

When Lue talked to George on the phone, the Clippers coach also addressed a different subject. George missed two foul shots with 8.2 seconds left. That marked the second-most significant possession in Game 2 before Suns center Deandre Ayton made a winning lob off an inbounds pass with 0.7 seconds remaining. Still, Lue downplayed those missed free throws and paid more attention to rest of George’s body of work.

"We wouldn’t be in this position without you," Lue recalled telling George.

Nearly two days later, George showed the Clippers would not be in a position to force at least a Game 5 without him. He finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

"I thought we did a great job of moving on, and I moved on," George said. "I had to be better, and I have to be better. Everything was then put into going Game 3. All my energy was directed toward a better game."

Nothing personified the Clippers’ bounce-back performance more than George’s 30-footer just before the third quarter ended. That gave the Clippers an 80-69 lead after outscoring the Suns 34-21 in the third quarter. So, George blew kisses to his significant other and children.

"It’s a reason why I shoot it in my pregame," George said. "It’s more so for feel if I get those shots in a game. I want to have some type of feel on the range of that shot."

George admitted he didn’t call glass, but he felt great about the shot because of the timing and launch angle. Yes, the Clippers have looked much differently in Game 3s than the first two games of each playoff series. Unlike during last year’s postseason bubble collapse when they squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers have not underachieved during these playoffs. They have just initially struggled to match up with their opponent’s star players.

First, the Clippers encountered Dallas Mavericks star Luca Doncic. Then, they faced off against Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. Each time, the Clippers eventually countered those threats both with varying defensive assignments and each star player experiencing various injuries.

Against the Suns, a similar theme played out. In his first game since after being sidelined for 11 days because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Chris Paul had 15 points while shooting 5-of-19 from the field and 2-of-7 from 3-point range along with 12 assists. While wearing a mask stemming from a crooked nose suffered in Game 2, Devin Booker had 15 points while shooting only 5-of-21 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range.

To counter those threats, Lue started second-year guard Terance Mann on Paul in hopes of preserving George’s workload. Lue assigned Beverley on Booker after irritating him in Game 2 with mixed results. Lue started center Ivica Zubac to provide a verticality threat, while bringing Marcus Morris Sr. off the bench after nursing pain in recent days. Offensively, Reggie Jackson (23 points), Zubac (15) and Mann (12) chipped in with with double-digit efforts.

No wonder the Clippers have playfully compared Lue to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for his various adjustments. Lue contended that "I’m nowhere near him," considering Belichick has won six Super Bowls while Lue has won one NBA championship. But he’ll take it.

"It means a lot just for those guys to trust me and determine that what I’m doing is best for the team and not for me," Lue said. "I take pride in making adjustments and trying to do the right thing. But these guys have to execute it. They’ve been doing a great job of that so far."

That is because some of the adjustments go beyond how Lue has managed playing time. Though Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed a fifth consecutive game because of a sprained right knee, he watched the game with his family in a suite before talking to his teammates at halftime. Beverley also gave an impassioned speech about maintaining their intensity level in the second half.

No wonder the Clippers stormed to an 80-69 lead after outscoring the Suns 34-21 in the third quarter. After Phoenix trimmed the Clippers’ lead to 89-83 with 7:13 left, the Clippers closed the game out with a 17-9 run.

"This team is resilient and we always believe," Jackson said. "We never give in and we never say die. We never really have doubt. We continue to just chip away and figure out ways to be better and figure out ways to to impose our will on our opponents. This team is just hungry. It’s always hungry to get better. You don’t know what the results are going to be. But I love our approach. I love the way we come out and continue to fight and continue to find ways to get it done."

Some of those ways involve Lue having phone conversations with his players, even if it takes place in his car following a long flight home.

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Cam Payne's Injury Is A Bigger Blow Than It Seems For Suns' Title Hopes

ClutchPoints 25 June, 2021 - 12:50am

Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne suffered an ankle injury in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals and did not return versus the Los Angeles Clippers. He played just four minutes and had two points. Though the Suns’ loss is not the direct consequence of his absence, there’s no denying Payne has been a key part of the team’s success.

Payne is averaging 11.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists across 22.6 minutes in the playoffs. He’s part of Monty Williams’ second unit though the head coach has inserted him in the critical moments of the game. His numbers don’t scream at you. If you’re a Suns fan, you may even recall some of Payne’s struggles and unnecessary errors. But for the most part, Payne’s offensive abilities and knowledge of Williams’ playbook make him a key asset.

His 29-point performance in Game 2 is a clear indication that Cam Payne is the Suns’ X-factor. It’s also good proof that teams who have reached the Conference Finals have a set of players who have played their roles well. Suns fans should stay tuned for Payne’s injury status—if he’ll be out for a few games or worse, be out for the entire series.

By now, it should be clear to them that Cam Payne is one of the critical pieces to their success so far. And if they go on without him, then the Suns’ title hopes might go down the drain.

Let’s have a look at what Cam Payne brings to the table and what makes him so valuable.

Payne’s offensive package consists of strong and fearless drives to the hoop. The highlight reel below shows how he takes advantage of that massive wingspan. It doesn’t even look or feel that he stands just 6-foot-1 and has a lanky body. Cam Payne seems to have perfected that stretch lay-up. He also has a sneaky floater reminiscent of Tony Parker or even Trae Young.

But how does he get that close to the hoop in the first place? Simple: the hesitation move. He doesn’t look like it, but Cam Payne is one heck of an explosive player. Just look at how he easily gets to the ring when he unveils that hesitation move.

Apart from his strong drives, he also has a catch-and-shoot in his offensive arsenal. Yes, his jump shot looks awkward. But it gets the job done. There’s a reason why defenders try their best to close out on him though he’s several feet behind the 3-point line. The guy’s shooting abilities should be respected.

So far, he’s shooting at 35.0 percent from downtown which is still good. Whenever defenses collapse on Devin Booker, he won’t hesitate to dish it off to a wide-open Cam Payne. The same is true for Chris Paul whenever he orchestrates the offense.

In fact, maybe it’s even Paul who continues to encourage Payne to shoot when he’s open.

His defense is more of a side note. We have yet to see Payne’s defensive chops in full bloom. However, we have to look at how his length has made it difficult for the Clippers to sneak in some passes. Payne knows his asset and uses it well. Notice how he makes himself bigger by simply stretching his arms out when the offense tries to make a pass. He doesn’t always get the deflection or the steal. He makes the offense work harder which is something of note.

Copyright © ClutchPoints. Partner of iOne Digital / Cassius Network.

Whicker: It’s Ivica Zubac’s turn to set tone for Clippers, masters of Game 3

OCRegister 24 June, 2021 - 11:57pm

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