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Clippers’ Paul George, Patrick Beverley break silence on blowing Game 2 vs. Devin Booker, Suns

Clippers, Paul George, Tyronn Lue

Paul George, Patrick Beverley, and the LA Clippers not only blew a massive opportunity in Game 2 against Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. They may have just lost the series because of it.

George scored six straight points, including a pair of buckets to give the Clippers a one-point lead twice. The second came with 22.2 seconds remaining, putting LA up 103-102. After Beverley forced a turnover, a deflection that went off Devin Booker, career-85% free throw shooter Paul George went to the line for two free throws.

The first rimmed out.

The second clanked off the back of the rim.

A corner three-pointer for Mikal Bridges missed, but the Suns retained possession, setting the stage for Deandre Ayton’s monster dunk to win the game, and possibly the series.

“I mean, I’m not going to put too much on that,” Paul George said of his missed free throws after the game. “Obviously it was an opportunity that was missed. Pat made an unbelievable play that put me in position to extend the lead. I’m always confident at the free throw line. I’ve always been very successful in clutch moments at the free throw line.

“Tonight, I was just unsuccessful extending the lead. So I’m not going to put too much on that. Fact of the matter is, we still were in position to win a ballgame late in the game.”

The Clippers now have no choice but to move on. They’ll return back home, down 0-2 for the third series in a row, with Chris Paul waiting to re-join the Suns. This one might sit on their minds for just a few more hours, however.

“I don’t think you like to start two games in a hole,” Patrick Beverley said after the loss. “I don’t think that’s our plan. I’ve played a lot of games in this league. This one goes up there. This was a hard game to swallow because you look at this game… We got this game won.

“But we’ve been in the trenches before, we respond well in the trenches, and we’ll respond well. We always do.”

The Clippers started Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley alongside Reggie Jackson, Paul George, and Marcus Morris. With Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann coming off the bench. That lineup allowed LA to put Beverley on Devin Booker and make life hell for him, which showed as he finished with 20 points on just 5-of-16 shooting.

The issue from there was that the Clippers had no answer for Cameron Payne, who started his second straight game in place of Chris Paul. Payne finished with 29 points and nine assists on 12-of-24 shooting from the field. Deandre Ayton had another monster night, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

When asked about what adjustments the Clippers can make following the loss, Paul George wasn’t sure how much there was to ‘adjust.’

“It’s not much,” George said. “Just doing things better, again that question wouldn’t be asked if we won. We lost the game off free throws. We lost the game on one point. We lost the game on a tip. With all that, we held the team, a good offensive team, to 104. So I mean, we’d be nitpicking to say this or that. We’re playing really good. We’re playing great. It’s limiting mistakes, and that’s just what it comes down to, game plan mistakes that we continue to just limit.”

The Western Conference Finals shifts to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday. Paul, who has reportedly been quarantining with his family in LA over the last week, is expected to join the Suns and play in those two games.