by Carlo Jay Cabagnot
LOS ANGELES -- It was one of the less aestehtic Western Conference Finals contests in recent memory where both teams threw enough bricks to build another Staples Center in downtown L.A..
But in the end, the visiting Phoenix Suns, plowed through a second-half drought and scored enought to eke past the host Clippers, 84-80, to win Game 4 and take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.
"That was a slugfest. It wasn't Offense 101, for sure," said Suns head coach Monty Williams after his team moved a game away from making it to the NBA Finals. They get the chance to officially book that entry on Game 5 this Tueday at the Phenix Suns Arena.
Devin Booker sturggled with just 8-for-22 shooting from the field and missed all five of his 3-point attempts but he still finished with 25 points. Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists while DeAndre Ayton was huge in the middle, hauling in with 19 points to go with 22 rebounds.
The Suns shot terribly on the floor, 31 of 86 (36 percent) and a mere 4-of-20 from downtown (20 percent).
But the Clippers couldn't take advantage because they couldn't find the rim, either, shooting just 32.5 percent from the field (27-of-83) and 5-for-31 (16.1 percent) from the arc. The Clippers also missed 11 of their 32 free throws and were out-rebounded, 59-51.
Paul George had 23 for the Clippers. But he had a rough outing that saw him drill only 5-of-20 shots while missing eight of his nine triples.PG-13 also committed six fouls and two turnovers in 42 minutes.
"It was a crazy, emotional game," said George following his and his team's disappointing performance when presented with the golden opporunity of tying the series at 2-2 in front of a home crowd of 18,222.
Teams that have enjoyed a 3-1 series have an all-time record of 52-4. But George is not losing hope.
"It's going to be tough and hard, but it has to be one game at a time. Play as hard as we can in Game 5."