The Clippers’ season ended on Tuesday night as they fell to the Phoenix Suns during Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Keep reading for a full recap of the Clippers’ Game 5 loss to the Suns.


It was a win-or-go-home scenario for the Clippers as they entered Footprint Center on Tuesday night. Undermanned again, they’d need their very best stuff in order to extend the series. And once again, they began the game with the competitive spirit required to do so. Despite losing the first quarter (32-30) for the first time all series, Norman Powell and Ivica Zubac set the tone for what would be an inspiring first half of basketball for LA.

Things only got better in the second quarter as the bench unit stole the show. Behind strong play from Bones Hyland and Mason Plumlee, the Clippers put forth a 40-point frame to take a nine-point lead into intermission. A made Russell Westbrook free throw out of the break brought LA’s lead to 10, which initially seemed like it would be one of the final highlights of the Clippers’ season. That’s when the Suns turned to their unsolvable superstar, Devin Booker. 

Unsolvable still may not be a precise enough term to describe Booker in the eyes of the Clippers. As in the prior four games, Booker attacked in isolation, got to the midrange, made contested shots, and whatever else he preferred. The result? Twenty-five points in the frame, single-handedly outsourcing LA by a point. Booker’s big quarter was part of a 50-point Phoenix third quarter that ultimately put the game far enough out of reach for the Clippers ever to make it respectable once more. The Suns’ lead ballooned to as many as 20 before a pesky, Nicolas Batum-led Clippers unit found their rhythm from behind the arc and trimmed the deficit to two points by the game’s closing minutes. But missed shots and untimely turnovers for the Clips ultimately left them unable to complete the comeback.

The horn sounded for the final time on the Clippers’ 2022-23 season as they walked off the floor with a 136-130 loss.

Game Notes

  • The reserves shine: The aforementioned Nicolas Batum made an appearance in Game 5. He’d appeared in each of the previous games, obviously, but it was in this fifth and final game that he finally looked like the Batum that we all have come to know and love. He made 5-8 threes and scored 19 points — single-game numbers that surpassed his series totals. Mason Plumlee scored a playoff career-high 20 points and added 10 rebounds with three assists. Terance Mann scored 10 points for the for the fourth time in the series and Bones Hyland added nine. All in all, the Clippers’ bench played a fine series.
  • Out-talented: Facing two All-NBA level players without two of your own is tough to overcome, which the Clippers quickly learned after Game 2 of this series. To their credit, they fought like crazy each time they took the floor, but Games 3-5 all followed a similar script — just when it seemed possible the Clippers could make a statement and pull off an unthinkable win, one of Devin Booker, Chris Paul would be there to make sure no such thing happened.

Big Picture

The Clippers will have a lot of questions to answer this off-season. Are they bringing back Russell Westbrook? Can they continue to build around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? Will there be any changes to the coaching staff or the front office? What they do this summer will indicate what next season could look like.

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