The Los Angeles Clippers find themselves down 3-1 against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals.
A team has only come back when down 3-1 thirteen times in all of NBA history.
For this to happen for the Clippers, everything must go right for them.
It will be a very tall task to come back from a deficit like this against a red hot second seeded Suns team.
1. Kawhi Leonard Comes Back/ Role Player Steps Up
The Los Angeles Clippers need either Kawhi Leonard to come back into the lineup or for a fourth player to step up for them on a consistent basis.
However, depending on two role players to continue the amazing streak of basketball they have been on is unrealistic.
The first way this can be accomplished is if Leonard comes back.
It is very unlikely that this will happen as his team is one loss away from their season being over.
Kawhi Leonard (knee injury) is "highly unlikely" to travel with the Clippers for Game 5
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 27, 2021
However, if he could come back, he would be just what the Clippers need.
He would be able to go back to controlling the offense and being a consistent scorer.
Defensively, he would be able to guard and likely neutralize Booker.
Another way is if one or more role players begin to step up.
The player most likely to do this is Ivica Zubac.
Zubac really stepped up in game three of the series.
This is the only game the Clippers were able to steal from the Suns.
Zubac finished the contest with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks.
This is very impressive especially when considering he did most of that with Deandre Ayton as his matchup.
If Zubac is able to keep pace with Ayton for the rest of the series, the Clippers may be able to pull off the biggest comeback in their franchises’ history.
2. Slow Down Devin Booker
Another key to the Clippers winning the series is slowing down Devin Booker.
Booker has been on fire for the entire playoff run the Suns have gone on.
He has played so well that he has drawn countless comparisons to Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant told Devin Booker “Be Legendary” pic.twitter.com/xxAYjRTPKS
— Hoops (@HoopMixOnly) June 20, 2021
With him being on the brink of superstardom, the Clippers must shut him down.
So far against the Clippers, Booker is averaging 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.
While this is the least amount of points he has averaged in a playoff series this season, it is still far too much.
With Leonard sidelined, the Clippers cannot keep up with the Suns offensively if Booker is having a good scoring night.
In the one game that the Clippers won, Booker only scored 15 points while shooting 5/21 from the field and 1/7 from three.
Despite the horrendous night, the Suns only lost the game by 14 points.
It will be an extremely uphill battle for the Clippers to come back against the Suns, however, if Leonard comes back, a role player steps up, and they are able to slow down Booker, they may be able to become the 14th team to come back from a 3-1 deficit.