The NBA bubble has produced some thrilling games in its first week, with a number being decided in the final minute or even overtime, as the quality of play has been nothing short of exceptional.
On Tuesday, we were treated to another spectacular game between the L.A. Clippers and the red-hot Phoenix Suns, who entered the game 2-0 and were trying to pull themselves into contention for the play-in series in the West with another win. The Suns led for much of the afternoon in Orlando, behind tremendous performances from Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, as their young stars continue to look excellent, as does the rest of their young core with players like Mikal Bridges taking apparent leaps.
Booker finished the game with 35 points and eight assists, including a 6-of-9 night from three-point range, but it was the midrange where he got the job done late, including hitting the game-winner at the buzzer after the Clippers tied it at 115-115. Ricky Rubio’s effort at a contested floater went begging, but Mikal Bridges was able to steal the ball after the Clippers got the rebound and Ayton swung it to Booker, who did the rest against great defense from Kawhi and Paul George.
DEVIN BOOKER GAME-WINNER 🚨 pic.twitter.com/4QAeIRNiA6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 4, 2020
The contest from George was textbook after Kawhi forced Booker into a spinning fadeaway, but their efforts were no matter to the budding superstar, who sunk the dagger. It should be noted that Bridges, who has emerged as a spectacular defender for the Suns, set it all up with the tipped pass for a steal to keep the Clippers from being the team with a shot to win.
The Suns now move to 3-0 in the bubble and are just one game back of the 9-seed — and three behind Memphis in eighth. As such, their chances at the play-in game are suddenly very alive after they were an afterthought coming in because of the deficit they had to make up and how many teams they needed to leapfrog. However, with the rest of the bottom of the West struggling, aside from the Spurs, things are now wide open and no one is playing better ball than Phoenix in Orlando.