The Suns would net another all-important win, putting a true stamp on the series as they parlayed three wins in a row together.
Their “Core 4” would all amass solid showings, and in the stretches where they were clicking, it had a very dominant and connected feeling as they blended their multi-faceted dynamics into one, time and time again.
The result, a 112-100 win.
The Suns would win the race to the first time out, setting a solid tone behind good player and ball movement. The defensive activity would parlay in lock-step with those efforts, enabling them a +7 mark in scoreboard separation in that stretch.
They’d see Ayton ever-active, with seven points and four offensive rebounds, in addition to a few defense deflections and playing with a more dominant feel in energy, starting fires for the Suns.
Ayton rolls to the rack with force. pic.twitter.com/99Du6RvdGn— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 22, 2023
That early tone set would be erased, however, by 21-6 Clippers run that eventually saw them take the lead behind some scoring off the bench.
They’d go up 30-23.
A clear emphasis on defense to restore order was at the foundation of conversations heading into the second, as the Suns would allow just 17 points in the second frame.
CP3 steal leads to the KD three pic.twitter.com/JhGLf2ykPH— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 22, 2023
They’d see activity from the likes of Biyombo, Lee, and Shamet from that unit, helping to slowly resurface the offense.
Okogie, unsurprisingly, also brought event-causing activity to the party to chip in on the less glamorous end.
J.O. goes coast to coast! pic.twitter.com/N48aajeqsp— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 22, 2023
They’d allow just 17 points in the second quarter, and it would net them a one-point lead headed into the break.
The second half saw the Suns get their offense back humming, with a barrage of shot-making in the third from Booker and Durant, blended with those two plus Paul mixing in who initiates and keeping the Clippers defense in rotation.
That would help them navigate a rough start, succumbing initially to a 7-0 Clippers run in the first 1:04 of the half that came largely from three Suns turnovers.
The Clippers would up their pressure on-ball, and the Suns got back into their ball movement, to maintain advantages and play off of rotating defenses.
That, blended with some opportunistic cutting parlayed into a dominant 36-point third.
The Clippers did score 31 in the same frame, with Westbrook in the driver’s seat, so though the offense for the Suns was on, the defense hadn’t quite caught up.
It would be there in the fourth.
After an 8-5 start that saw some momentous bucket getting, the Suns would start to reap benefits from (finally) having their offense and defense clicking in lock-step.
They’d parlay those efforts into a sustained flow, with both sides of the ball playing off of each other.
That, plus the surfacing of Chris Paul’s knack for fourth-quarter scoring - to the tune of 12 points including multiple hits from deep - would tilt the scale heavily in their favor as they followed up their third-quarter showing with 29 points, but also only conceded 22 in the process.
Finishing this one on a high note was as well-timed as any dynamic in this game, and they now head back to Phoenix on a three-game win streak, with a chance to put a final stamp on round one and close out at home.
Unique opportunity for the Suns, in the Chris Paul era, to close in front of the home crowd— Stephen PridGeon ☯️ (@StayTrueSDot3) April 22, 2023
All series won in this rendition - adding up to 4 - have been closed in hostile environments
Opportunity for growth through the challenge of closing out a prideful LAC team is presented
The Suns now have the opportunity to close in front of the home crowd, something they haven’t quite yet been able to do in the four series won in the new rendition.
GAME 4 STATS— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 22, 2023
Durant: 31 PTS, 11 REB, 6 AST
Booker: 30 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL
Paul: 19 PTS, 9 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK
Ayton: 15 PTS, 13 REB, 2 STL, 2 BLK
Craig: 8 PTS, 5 REB, 1 BLK
Okogie: 6 PTS, 3 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK pic.twitter.com/jbyjPf5iuo
A close at home would be a big-time sign of the team turning a corner, as it would also be the reward in opportunity for the work done to scrap out two wins on the road.