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Tune-In Tidbits: Western Conference Finals, Game 6

Get ready for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals with five key stats to know about the Suns-Clippers matchup.

The Clippers’ lineup of Nicolas Batum, Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson outscored the Suns by 18 points in 13 minutes on court together in Game 5.

Game 6: Suns at Clippers

9 p.m. ET, ESPN | Suns lead 3-2

• Paul George had a historic performance (playoff career-high 41 points, 15-20 FG, 3-6 3-point FG, 8-8 FT) in LA’s Game 5 win, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 40+ points on 75%+ FG, 50%+ 3P and 100% FT in a playoff game. He scored nearly half (48.8%) of those points in the paint, including 19 points off of 19 drives (an extremely efficient drive ratio). For reference, George typically only scores 29.4% of his points in the paint with 6.9 ppg off of 11.8 drives. De’Aaron Fox, who led the league in points off of drives during the regular season, only averaged 13.3 ppg off of 18.4 drives and Trae Young typically scores 10.5 ppg off of 20.1 drives.

• George, who has logged 130 more minutes than any other player in this year’s playoffs, has scored at least 20 points in all 18 games he’s played in this postseason. The only other players in NBA history to score at least 20 in their first 18 games of a single playoffs are Michael Jordan (1992, 1997, 1998), Kobe Bryant (2008) and Kevin Durant (2012, 2018). Each of those players went on to make The Finals that same postseason.

• Clippers coach Tyronn Lue — who improved to 10-2 in elimination games with LA’s Game 5 win — has been praised throughout the postseason for his game-to-game and in-game adjustments. The third quarter has been the Clippers’ best quarter in this series as LA has outscored Phoenix by a total of 30 points in the first five games after the halftime break. The Clippers are now 10-2 in Games 3-7 in the playoffs this season, compared to 0-6 in Games 1-2.

Stats Games 1-2 Games 3-7
W-L 0-6 10-2
+/- -32 136
PPG 110.2 113.0
RPG 39.2 42.9
SPG 5.3 7.7
FG% 46.2% 49.0%
3P% 37.2% 39.2%
OPP PPG 115.5 101.7
OPP FG% 51.4 42.6
OPP 3P% 41.9 36.6

• The Suns get a second chance to close out the series and advance to The Finals for the first time since 1993. With he Game 5 loss, the Suns are now 2-1 in close-out games this postseason, with Devin Booker averaging 37.7 points on 50.7%-58.3%-90.3% shooting splits, 8.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 43.7 minutes per game. Booker’s 112 total points through three close-out games is the sixth-most ever by a player through the first three close-out chances in a single postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The only players with more points than Booker are Jordan (4x, most recently in 1992) as well as Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor (both in 1962).

• In Game 5, the Clippers got 60 combined points from Reggie Jackson (23), Marcus Morris Sr. (22) and DeMarcus Cousins (15). Jackson has been a steady secondary scorer to George in this series without Kawhi Leonard. Morris, who has been limited due to a sore knee, had scored 25 points combined in the first four games of the series. Cousins had scored 14 points in 17 combined minutes in the series before going for 15 points in 11 minutes in Game 5 with Ivica Zubac out. Morris was also the primary defender on Deandre Ayton for a team-high 5:04 (43.7% of Ayton’s matchup time) and held Ayton to four points. Ayton finished with 10 points (his lowest scoring game of the series) and 11 rebounds (half of his total from a dominant Game 4). The Suns entered Game 5 with a 198-140 advantage in the paint (winning by an average of 14.5 ppg); the Clippers outscored the Suns 58-32 in the paint in Game 5.