Clippers aim to put an end to Suns’ 2-0 restart

Field Level Media

August 03, 2020 at 8:13 pm.

The Los Angeles Clippers look to ride the momentum of a record-setting performance into a tilt with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday afternoon near Orlando.

Los Angeles (45-21) sank a franchise-record 25 3-pointers in a 126-103 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday. The total eclipsed the 24 set in the team’s 128-111 win over Miami on Feb. 5 at Staples Center.

The Clippers also tied a franchise mark for 3-pointers made in a half when they hit 16-of-24 en route to claiming a 77-45 lead at intermission.

Paul George highlighted his 28-point performance with a sizzling 8-for-11 effort from beyond the arc for Los Angeles, which bounced back from a 103-101 setback to the rival Lakers on Thursday.

“It’s weird because I can’t make nothing else,” the 30-year-old George said. “The 3s are the only thing that are dropping. In a way, I’m in a rhythm, but I’m not in a rhythm because I can’t find the ball in between the 3-point line. It’s great that the long ball’s falling. I’m going to stick with it, continue to keep shooting them.”

Kawhi Leonard poured in 24 points, the same total he recorded to help the Clippers post a 102-92 victory over the Suns (28-39) in the teams’ last meeting on Feb. 26.

While scoring is nothing new for Leonard (team-best 26.8 points), he has taken great pride in notching a career-high 5.0 assists per game this season.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers has noticed Leonard’s willingness to distribute the basketball.

“It’s been amazing,” Rivers said. “I thought he set the tone the beginning of the game. You can tell. It’s funny, he was just passing, almost overpassing at times. You look up, he still had (18 points) at halftime, then he had the assists.

“People are going to load up on Kawhi. They’re going to load up on (George). The more we can make them pinpoint passers, the better our team will be.”

Devin Booker kept the Suns’ slim postseason chances afloat by scoring 30 points in a 117-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. The win was the second in as many games for Phoenix since entering the restart with the worst record among the remaining Western Conference teams.

“This kind of game is going to help us grow, especially a young team like we are,” said Suns guard Ricky Rubio, who had 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

“You can’t practice that. Coming here will help it. Now that we’re here, chances are super low. But we have a chance. That’s why we’re here.”

The 29-year-old Rubio, who averages a team-best 8.9 assists per game, had 10 in the last meeting with the Clippers.

Booker, who averages a club-high 26.2 points per contest, struggled in that game against Los Angeles while being predominantly guarded by Leonard. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-19 attempts from the floor for the Suns, who shot 39.1 percent as a team.