PHOENIX — Through chippiness and timely shots, the Phoenix Suns put the Los Angeles Clippers in a familiar position.
The Suns finished with a 104-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday, becoming the third team to storm out to a 2-0 series lead against the Clippers.
With 0.9 seconds left, Suns forward Jae Crowder threw an inbounds pass to center Deandre Ayton for the lob. After a lengthy video review, officials determined that the basket counted. The Clippers had 0.7 seconds to throw a full-court inbounds pass. But after Nicolas Batum passed the ball to Paul George, he did not have time to get a shot off in time.
The final moments saw Suns guard Devin Booker and George trading baskets. But after George gave the Clippers a 103-102 lead with 21.8 seconds left, officials determined that the Suns lost the ball out of bounds with 9.3 seconds left. The Suns then intentionally fouled George on the inbounds pass with 8.2 seconds remaining. George missed both foul shots to set up the Suns’ final play with 7.8 seconds left. Mikal Bridges missed a 3-pointer, but the Suns still retained possession on a jump ball with 0.9 seconds left.
The Suns’ Cameron Payne (29 points), Ayton (24), Booker (20), Cam Johnson (11) and Dario Saric (11) all cracked double figures. The Clippers countered with George (26 points), Reggie Jackson (19), Ivica Zubac (14) and Batum (10).
The game became a grind-it-out affair with physical play. The most notable example happened when Clippers guard Patrick Beverley headbutted Booker with 3:22 left in the the third quarter. Both players left the game with towels covering their faces. The Clippers diagnosed Beverley with a forehead laceration, while Booker had a bandage over his nose. Both players returned for the fourth quarter.
The Clippers overcame 2-0 deficits against the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Though it remains to be seen if Suns guard Chris Paul will return after missing the first two games of the series because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Suns have adjusted well without him.
The Clippers will host Game 3 on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Sign up for USA TODAY’s various subscription deals.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Suns shock Clippers on Deanre Ayton’s last-second shot for 2-0 lead