NBA: Clippers beat Suns, secure West's No. 5 seed | Inquirer Sports
NBA

NBA: Clippers beat Suns, secure West’s No. 5 seed

/ 11:17 AM April 10, 2023

Norman Powell Clippers NBA

Norman Powell #24 of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts after a basket during the second half of the game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on April 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Chris Coduto/Getty Images/AFP

Norman Powell scored 29 points off the bench, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook added 25 apiece and the visiting Los Angeles Clippers secured the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 119-114 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Leonard scored the last eight points for the Clippers and finished with a season-high 15 rebounds plus six assists. Los Angeles (44-38) will face No. 4 seed Phoenix in a first-round playoff matchup.

Bones Hyland scored 11 points and Ivica Zubac had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers, who won despite shooting 5 of 23 (21.7 percent) from 3-point range and 16 of 24 (66.7 percent) from the foul line.

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Saben Lee led Phoenix (45-37) with a career-high 25 points and a season-high nine assists. Darius Bazley scored 16 points, Jock Landale added 15, Landry Shamet had 14, and Josh Okogie and Terrence Ross chipped in 13 apiece.

The Suns, who entered the game locked into the No. 4 seed in the West, rested starters Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. Phoenix also played without Bismack Biyombo (right knee) and Cameron Payne (lower back).

In a game that featured eight ties and 10 lead changes, the Clippers moved ahead 117-111 on Leonard’s jumper with 1:49 remaining. After Bazley scored four straight points, Leonard’s layup with 19.4 seconds left put Los Angeles up by five.

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Phoenix led 28-19 after holding the Clippers to eight field goals in the first quarter. Landale scored 11 points in the period for the Suns.

There was a brief delay late in the second quarter while an overhead speaker was being repaired. After Shamet hit a 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the half to put Phoenix ahead by nine, the Clippers pulled within 53-48 entering the break.

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Los Angeles shot 40.4 percent from the field in the first half, but only 4 of 16 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Westbrook scored 13 points to lead the Clippers.

The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run before the Suns scored seven of the next eight points. Trailing by 10 late in the quarter, Los Angeles closed on an 11-5 run to pull within 86-82.

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