NBA LIVE Playoffs 2021: Play By Play Phoenix Suns (2-0) at Los Angeles C...

3 adjustments Clippers need to make in Game 3 vs. Suns after epic Game 2 collapse

The Los Angeles Clippers are now down 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns. They’ve been in this position for the third time in a row this postseason. They know how tough it is to come back and also how it’s completely possible. Props should be given to them in Game 2 for coming up with a defensive scheme to make it extra tough for Devin Booker. However, they need to iron out some parts of their game plan if they want to mount another comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

3 Clippers adjustments for Game 3:
Clog the paint
The Suns had 60 points in the paint in Game 2. This is a whopping 57 percent of their total score. And it’s not as if they don’t have the size to contain the Suns. Ivica Zubac does not possess the defensive chops but he’s still big enough to stand toe-to-toe against Deandre Ayton. Marcus Morris has enough heft as well to get physical with the Suns’ bigs. DeMarcus Cousins, amid uncertainties of what he could bring to the floor, was fielded for just four minutes. Maybe he could’ve helped the Clippers clog the paint.

This was the same story in Game 1. The Suns pummeled the Clippers in the paint with 54 points. Ty Lue must have supreme confidence in his team that his system can make up for those points given in the paint. But now, they’re down 2-0. And their Game 2 loss was because of an inbound alley-oop to Ayton. This may be the slap that Lue needed to finally make adjustments to his interior defense.

Continue Being Aggressive, But Knock Down Free Throws
The Clippers headed to the free throw line 24 times (made 18), which is better than the Suns’ 18 trips. This is a good indication that the Clippers do not settle for jacking up shots from deep. Whenever they see openings in the lane, they drive aggressively with hopes of being fouled. Shooting 75 percent from the free throw line is pretty good no matter how you look at it.

It’s a cliche but every point counts. Paul George missed two critical free throws that could’ve put them up by three points and probably seal the win. Of course, this doesn’t mean the Clippers should spend the entire night at the gym knocking down free throws. They should’ve worked on this in the offseason. Rather, they should remain focused on their goal of winning the title and at the same time, not place too much pressure on their shoulders.

Prepare for Chris Paul
As of writing, Chris Paul is “probable” for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. At this point, it would be foolish to say that Paul’s return would ruin the chemistry the team had in the first two games. The fact of the matter is that the Suns are simply better with Paul in the fold. Lue should place Paul back on the priority list—remind his players of the Point God’s tendencies, the nuances of his game, etc.

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