The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns 113-109 on Wednesday night, as Norman Powell scored 24 points after missing two months, and Paul George added 19 points in three quarters to reach 15,000 for his career.
On the second night of a back-to-back, Phoenix rested All-Star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul, as well as fellow starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder. By eliminating the Lakers from playoff contention on Tuesday, the Suns had already set a franchise record for wins in a season with 63.
For three quarters, the Clippers dominated the Suns, leading by 39 points in the third. However, Phoenix’s reserves put together a 48-point fourth-quarter before running out of time.
With 10 seconds remaining, Cameron Payne hit a 3-pointer to pull the Suns within four points. Amir Coffey was fouled and made both free throws to seal the victory.
Phoenix was led by Ish Wainwright, who scored a career-high 20 points. Aaron Holiday had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bismack Biyombo had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Payne was the only starter in double figures, scoring 13 points. The Suns’ bench outscored the Clippers’ reserves by a score of 66-58.
George and Powell were playing together for the first time this season, but they quickly clicked, assisting the Clippers in their third consecutive victory. They have been assigned the eighth spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament, which will take place next week.
Since returning from a torn UCL, George has appeared in five of six games. Powell has returned to the lineup after missing 21 games due to a broken foot. He appeared in only three games for the team before being injured shortly after being acquired in a trade from Portland.
To begin the game, George scored 10 of his team’s first 14 points. Powell entered the game for the first time late in the first quarter and made a jumper.
They kicked off the second quarter together. Powell followed a 3-pointer with a jumper, then George found him for another 3-pointer as part of a 22-0 run. The Suns didn’t score their first points until 6:49 when former Clipper Landry Shamet hit a 3-pointer.
The Clippers outscored the Suns 34-9 in the second quarter to take a 60-31 lead into the break. For the Clippers, Ivica Zubac had 13 points and 11 rebounds.