Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Clippers credit team 'resilience' for fightback after recording first-ever Conference Finals win

In the 2021 playoffs, the LA Clippers have made a habit of winning Game 3s after being 0-2 in each of the first two rounds.

They did it in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, and then again in the Conference Semifinals against the top-seeded Utah Jazz. So, it should come as no surprise that they did it yet again versus the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Finals.

Despite the 'next game' mentality that nearly every NBA player preaches, what the Clippers have achieved this postseason is historic - becoming the first team in NBA history to overcome multiple 0-2 series deficits in a single playoffs.

MORE: Cameron Payne exits Game 3 with left ankle injury

"I don't like it but we've been a resilient team all year long," Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said postgame. "It's a total team effort. Our guys just keep grinding and keep fighting. We know our backs are against the wall, 0-2, but we never give in."

The Clippers clinched this game by outplaying the Suns on both ends. On defence, they held the Suns' backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker to just 30 points on 10-of-40 shooting while on the other end of the floor, they were led by the duo of Reggie Jackson and Paul George.

Jackson finished the game with 23 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. This is his seventh 20-point game this postseason (out of 16 contests) as the 6'2" guard has evolved into a reliable scorer for the team having tallied at least 15 in all but three games.

"Team is resilient and we always believe," Jackson said postgame. "We never give in and never say die. We never really have doubt."

Meanwhile, Paul George contributed across the board and was only two assists shy of a triple-double. He recorded 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in 43 minutes of action. After Game 2, where two missed free-throws by George late allowed the Suns to clinch it with the game-winning dunk.

MORE: Takeaways - PG lifts Clippers to Game 3 win

"First person [landing back in LA after Game 2] I called was PG," Lue said postgame.

"I just told him we wouldn't be in this position without you. So, that game is over, it happens. Doesn't mean anything, they took care of the two games at home and now we got to go home and win our two games."

This was George's 16th consecutive game of scoring at least 20 - that's the longest streak in Clippers history and makes him only the fourth player in the last 20 seasons to have a 20-point playoff scoring streak that long.

"This team is tough, we do whatever it takes," Paul George said in the postgame interview with ESPN. "I think we just got great resilience."

Although George led the way, he had to fight an off-shooting night (9-26 FGs). So he overcame that by doing a bit of everything else and credited the rest of his teammates for the win.

"I just told myself 'I'm a do whatever it takes'. I'm going to make the extra plays, rebound, I'm going to box out. Reggie did a great job of putting it away, Pat, they just made big plays down the stretch."

After Game 3s, the Clippers have also won Game 4s when they have been down 0-2. Will the trend continue? We'll know in a couple of days.

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