LA Clippers make unwanted history in 'mind-blowing' Playoffs fail

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Paul George reacts to a missed shot during game four of the Western Conference Finals.
LA Clippers star Paul George couldn't overcome a poor shooting night as they gave up a 3-1 lead to Phoenix in the NBA Western Conference Finals. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers are on the verge of elimination from the NBA playoffs after Phoenix won a 3-1 series lead in game four of the Western Conference finals.

The visiting Suns held on for a 84-80 in a low-scoring slugfest which saw the Clippers record the lowest first half score in a playoff game in team history.

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The Clippers were held to just 36 points at half time, and their shooting didn't improve terribly after half-time.

The Suns can advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 with a victory in Game 5 on Monday night in Phoenix.

Devin Booker scored 25 points before fouling out in the final minute before Chris Paul made clutch free throws on a night when everyone else was missing.

With injured Kawhi Leonard again watching from a suite, the Clippers struggled with poor shooting in all but the third quarter when they made 10 of 17 shots to pull within three points.

They got within one point four times in the fourth, but could never take the lead in front of a sellout crowd of 18,222 that hung on every agonising miss.

Their first half struggled led veteran sportswriter Skip Bayless to describe what had unfolded as 'mnd-blowing'.

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"The Clippers look like they've never played basketball together," he tweeted. 

"You've seen better ball movement in a game of one-on-one."

LA shot 32 per cent (27 of 83) for the game; Phoenix were barely better at 36 per cent (31 of 86).

The Clippers made five 3-pointers in the game; the Suns hit just four.

"That was a slugfest," Suns coach Monty Williams said.

"It wasn't offence 101, for sure."

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Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said, "We had a chance to take the lead on 12 possessions and couldn't do it.

"It just wouldn't fall for us."

Deandre Ayton added 19 points and a career playoff-high 22 rebounds, while Paul had 18 points and seven assists.

Paul George had 23 points, 16 rebounds and six assists before fouling out with one second left.

The final 13 seconds turned into a free-throw shooting contest, with the Suns fouling to try to keep the Clippers off the 3-point line.

Paul made 5 of 6 from the charity stripe to ice the game while the Clippers were 4 of 8, deliberately missing three of them to try to score.

But it didn't work.

Devin Booker guided the Phoenix Suns to a 84-80 road win over the LA Clippers to put them on the cusp of making the NBA Finals. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Devin Booker guided the Phoenix Suns to a 84-80 road win over the LA Clippers to put them on the cusp of making the NBA Finals. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The series now heads back to Phoenix with the Clippers staring down a 3-1 series deficit. 

Erasing that lead isn't impossible (see: the Clippers' postseason last year), but it's the most dire position the Clippers have found themselves in a playoff run defined by comebacks.

Kawhi Leonard remains out with an ACL injury, and it's unclear if he'll be able to make it back during the playoffs at all. 

The Clippers are probably going to need to do this with what they currently have, and that won't be easy against a Phoenix team that has arguably been the most impressive team of the playoffs.

With AAP/Yahoo Sports US

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