The Phoenix Suns were down one point to the Los Angles Clippers with 0.9 seconds left on the clock at the end of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Phoenix wing Mikal Bridges had just missed an open corner three, but the Suns got the ball back after it was deflected out of bounds by the Clippers.
The Suns had no timeouts left, but they essentially earned a free one when referees reviewed who last touched the ball on the previous possession. Suns coach Monty Williams used the free time well, drawing up a brilliant lob to Deandre Ayton for the game-winning dunk.
This is one of the wildest end of game plays you will ever see deep in the NBA playoffs:
JAE CROWDER INBOUNDS IT TO DEANDRE AYTON FOR THE DUNK TO PUT THE @SUNS UP 2-0!#ThatsGame #NBAPlayoffs#WeAreTheValley pic.twitter.com/ltuQI6lxNl— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Phoenix won, 104-103, to take a 2-0 series lead.
The end of the game was marred by replay review. The refs reviewed four different plays that halted the flow of an exciting game.
Phoenix had the ball down one with under 10 seconds left on the clock when Devin Booker had the ball poked out of his hands by Patrick Beverley. As refs went to video replay, it was clear the ball last touched Booker’s finger tips before bouncing out of bounds. The call went against the spirit of the rule and angered fans watching, but it turned into an ultimate “ball don’t lie” moment when Clippers star Paul George missed two free throws on the other end.
That gave Phoenix one last chance that turned into two last chances. Ayton, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft ahead of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, finished the lob for his first signature NBA moment. Ayton was awesome throughout, finishing 24 points and 14 rebounds on 12-of-15 shooting in the win.
The series isn’t over for the Clippers yet: they were also down 0-2 against the Mavericks and Jazz before coming back to win each series earlier in these playoffs. Losing this game in such heartbreaking fashion, while Chris Paul was still sidelined by Covid protocol, is going to sting, though.
With reports that Paul could be back for Game 3, Phoenix is now two wins away from the NBA Finals. Unbelievable.