There are some plays that will go down in history for NBA franchises. If the Phoenix Suns go on to become NBA Champions this year, then Deandre Ayton’s last second dunk to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of the series will be one of them.
In what was a super-tight contest all the way through the four quarters, it seemed as if a late rally by the Clippers would edge them to victory and level the series at 1-1. Especially, with there being less than one second remaining on the clock with the Suns trailing by one point.
However, Jae Crowder produced the assist of the game with a stunning pass for Deandre Ayton to dunk his 24th point of the game, to go with 14 rebounds to put the Suns ahead with less than a second to go.
The Clippers could not get off a shot in the time remaining and the rising Suns take a 2-0 lead in the series heading into the next game.
“DA – if he throws it, you gotta try to dunk it. Okay?”
— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Booker Bloodied But Unbowed
In what was an exciting, even and often physical. Game, Devin Booker hit 20 points for the Suns, but was outscored by Cameron Payne, who had 29 points along with nine assists in what was arguably his best playoff performance for the Suns.
Booker left the game temporarily late in the third quarter after a blow to the face saw him requiring stitches in his nose, but he returned to the game in the fourth to play his part in the game.
It was a great performance by Payne, who was stepping in for Chris Paul, who is still in the NBA’s health and safety protocol after he tested positive for COVID-19.
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Paul George top scored for the Clippers with 26 points alongside six rebounds and six assists and Reggie Jackson contributed 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
However, George will rue the two free-throws he missed late in the game that would have given the Clippers a three-point advantage.
There was no doubt that the Clippers missed the scoring power of Kawhi Leonard who missed the fourth playoff game in a row for his team due to a knee injury.
Game Three Set For Thursday
The Clippers will be hoping for a swift change of fortune as they head back to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the next two games in the series. After losing three times to the Mavericks, the Clippers have won four home games in a row and will want that run to continue here to bring them back into the series.
DraftKings Sportsbook have the Clippers as the very slight -107 favorites to win the game on their home court, with the Suns, who have won their last six playoff games in a row, rated a -115 chance.
Before that though the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks will get their Eastern Conference Championship series underway this evening, with the Bucks strong favorites to win the game on their home court.
The Bucks are rated at -345 for the win, while the Hawks are +275, but having surprised two teams already to reach this stage of the tournament, Hawks fans may well like being the underdog here.
However, whether that game can match the drama of last nights Suns victory over the Clippers remains to be seen.