No Chris Paul, no problem (again).
It came down to the final second but the young Phoenix Suns persevered in a Game 2 thriller against the LA Clippers.
A sensation final-second out-of-bounds play capped-off by Deandre Ayton's alley-oop slam gave the Suns 104-103 victory and the 2-0 series lead. The thrilling win extended their current win streak to nine games.
The Suns have won 9 straight games.- StatMuse (@statmuse) June 23, 2021
In that span, they have trailed in the 4th quarter for a grand total of 30 seconds. pic.twitter.com/kxFtPtyYVF
Ayton and Cameron Payne led the Suns' five double-digit scorers as the team overcame an off-shooting night from Devin Booker and a late surge from the Clippers, sparked by Paul George, for the win.
Here's a quick look at the takeaways:
The final play: Ayton's alley-oop game-winner
With just 0.9 seconds on the game-clock, the Suns had to be quick and they did just that.
Devin Booker screened Ayton's man in Ivica Zubac as Jae Crowder inbounded a lob pass. With Zubac trailing, Ayton slammed it home for the quick bucket to end the game and clinch a 2-0 series lead for Phoenix.
EVERY ANGLE of Jae Crowder's pinpoint pass to Deandre Ayton to win Game 2 for the @Suns! #NBAPlayoffs #ThatsGame #NBAWCF presented by AT&T continues with Game 3 on Thursday at 9pm/et on ESPN pic.twitter.com/JMEXIj0erK- NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Ayton was huge in Game 2. Coming off 20 points and two assists in Game 1, he finished this one with 24 points and 14 rebounds on an incredible 12-of-15 shooting from the field.
Cameron Payne's career game
Over the course of the season and these playoffs, Cameron Payne has proved to be a valuable reserve guard for the Suns bench.
After going for 11 points and nine assists in Game 1, he stepped up big time in Game 2. He carried the Suns early, scoring 16 of his 29 in the first half when Booker shot 3-of-10 for just nine points.
Find the hot hand! 🔥- NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Book to Cam Payne, who's up to 16 in the 1st half of Game 2 on ESPN. #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/OHolWcJsBC
His 16 first-half points are the most he's scored in any half of his playoff career.
It's not just the volume but also the efficiency. He shot 50.0 percent from the field on a career-high 24 field goal attempts and dished out nine assists without committing a single turnover.
Paul George sparks late rally but comes up short
With the Clippers down six, Paul George sparked a late-game rally and threatened to steal Game 2 by himself.
Up until the final 8.2 seconds, PG keyed a 13-6 run including a clutch bucket late. He scored or assisted on 11 of the 13 points, helping the Clippers go from trailing 96-90 to leading 103-102.
Big time bucket. pic.twitter.com/4pHlYhEpd5- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 23, 2021
With that rally, he had scored 10 of his 26 in the final period but he missed two free-throws late and those were crucial to giving the Suns the opportunity to win it on the next possession.
Despite missing All-NBA player in Chris Paul, the Suns take care of business at home and carry a 2-0 series lead to Los Angeles. With games all series on alternate days, Game 3 is scheduled for Jun. 24, Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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