SJA student articles

2020

BEST SPORTS

QUENTIN C.

Booker’s buzzer-beater lifts Suns to upset victory over Clippers

As Kevin Garnett so enthusiastically said after winning the 2008 NBA Finals, “Anything is possible. Anything is possible!”

That statement held true on Tuesday night, when the lowly Phoenix Suns (insert record here) shocked the Los Angeles Clippers (insert records here) 117-115 thanks to a Devin Booker fadeaway game-winning buzzer beater over the outstretched arms of Paul George. 

Booker led the way for Phoenix all night, dropping 35 points in 37 minutes, shooting a stellar 52% from the field, including six threes. In all three seeding games thus far, Booker looked like he hasn’t missed a beat in terms of his offensive prowess. If Booker can continue his scoring hot streak, Phoenix’s future opponents should start taking the Suns a lot more seriously.

Booker’s finest moment of Tuesday’s game came at the buzzer, as Booker took the ball with seven seconds left, drove to his left, pump faked Kawhi Leonard, did a 180 degree pivot, and drilled the game-winning shot right in Paul George’s grill. Booker was immediately mobbed by his teammates as he laid victoriously on the hardwood, smiling in celebration. 

Deandre Ayton and Ricky Rubio also contributed in the win, scoring 19 and 18 points, respectively. The two starters have established themselves as quality secondary options on a Phoenix squad that has lacked such weapons for quite some time. 

The Suns absolutely torched the Clippers from downtown, dropping 17 threes on the league’s second best three point defense. If it were “NBA Jam,”, the nets would have been on fire for most of the game. The Suns shot the ball with confidence, as several of their baskets came off the dribble and early in the shot clock. The offense seemed to ebb and flow the whole game, something Suns fans haven’t seen consistently since the Steve Nash era. 

As for the Clippers, their defense let them down in a game they should’ve won. Their offense, however, kept them in the game. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scored 27 and 23 points, respectively, and Ivica Zubac once again established himself as the Clippers’ best big man, dropping 18 points while grabbing 12 rebounds as well. While this game shouldn’t alarm Clippers fans, they should be wary of less talented teams down the line, as they’re set to face the Brooklyn Nets (insert record here) on Sunday, who just toppled the qBucks for the biggest underdog victory since 1993 (-19 point spread).

While it may be hard to believe, the Phoenix Suns are undefeated thus far in Orlando, defeating the Wizards and Mavericks while also stunning the Clippers at the buzzer. They now sit just three games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, something that seemed almost impossible when the Suns were one of the last teams invited to Orlando. 

However, as Kevin Garnett once said, “Anything is possible. Anything is possible!”

2020

SPORTS

Pelicans vs Los Angeles Clippers August 1, 2020 Story 

by Vishnu D.

The Los Angeles Clippers (insert record here) blew out the New Orleans Pelicans (insert record here) 126-103 after Paul George sank three straight three-pointers in the opening minutes; the Clippers pull closer to the first seed in the western conference, six and a half games back from the Los Angeles Lakers. 

In a historic occasion, the Clippers broke the franchise record of three-pointers made in a game, making 25 of 47 attempts. Leading the way was Paul George, responsible for eight three-pointers out of 11 shots from behind the arc. However, the team fell one short of an NBA record of three-pointers made in one half, hitting 16 of 24. 

"The team gets going like that, you want to share the ball because you want to get everyone involved," George said. "I thought it was contagious tonight. One guy made a shot, the next guy made a shot, and the ball started to hop around all night."

Facilitating the successful offense on Saturday, Kawahi Leonard eclipsed reached his single-season record for most assists in a game. Also, Leonard contributed offensively by scoring 24 points, Reggie Jackson put up 15 points, and Patrick Beverly started the streak of threes in the first quarter.  

The Clippers came off an unfortunate loss to the Los Angeles Llakers 103-101 on Thursday night, giving away 29 points off turnovers. 

"The first games are always pretty ugly, specifically in this circumstance, with the way we got to prepare and get on the floor," Leonard said. "I think being consistent and able to games under our belt. 

Early on in the game, the Clippers were not missing their three-point shots., Beverly and Leonard made six straight shots from behind the arc in the first quarter, resulting in an astounding 37-25 lead. 

Head coach Doc Rivers said, "It just means we got our first victory in the bubble. We've got to keep growing. We've got six more. We've got to keep growing for the playoffs."

On the flip side of the ball, the Pelicans used this unfortunate scenario to play their rookie sensation, Zion Williamson. Williamson missed two weeks of practice for a family medical matter and only played 15 minutes on Thursday against the Jazz. 

In the first half, Williamson left the game limping after slightly twisting his ankle. However, he returned for the second half and ended the night with seven points. The rookie has had an injury- ridden season due to a persistent knee injury; the first overall pick has only played 22 NBA games so far.  

Leading New Orleans the team in scoring was Nickeil Alexander-Walker with 15 and Brandon Ingram with 14. 

With only four games remaining, the Pelicans’ playoff chances are slim. Coming into Saturday's game, they were tied for 11th in the conference after losing to the Jazz. 

The driving cause of Saturdays' loss was turnovers; the Pelicans turned over the ball 20 times and in the past two games 38 times. 

"We have to start managing our turnovers. It's been our Achilles’ heel the last two games," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.  

Led by Paul George and Kawahi Leonard, the Clippers have already clinched a playoff berth and currently sit second in the western conference. 

Next up, the Clippers play the Phoenix Suns, and the Pelicans play the Memphis Grizzlies. 

"We have a lot of things we have to start doing better, and we have to start doing them better immediately. We don't have a month or two weeks to go," Gentry said.

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