Devin Booker scored 25 points and Chris Paul made several clutch free throws in the waning moments as the Phoenix Suns held for a 84-80 win over Los Angeles, putting the Clippers on the brink of elimination from the NBA playoffs.
The Suns led wire-to-wire but it was far from easy as they led by as many as 14 points in the third but saw that dwindle to just one point in the fourth when both teams struggled to score combining for just 29 points in the quarter.
But Paul vowed to be better in game four and he was, scoring 18 points, dishing out seven assists, and making five free throws in the final 10 seconds at Staples Center as the Suns seized a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.
"We still got a ways to go but it felt good to get one here," Paul said. "This was a tough environment. We are going home."
Deandre Ayton finished with 19 points and 22 rebounds and Mikal Bridges chipped in six points and 13 rebounds for the Suns who are trying to reach their first NBA finals since 1993.
Game five is Monday night in Phoenix.
Paul George led the Clippers with 23 points and 16 rebounds while Reggie Jackson had 20 points and Ivica Zubac finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Booker was eight of 22 from the field and zero of five from three point range as he had to adjust to playing with a plastic face guard to protect a broken nose he suffered in a collision with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley in game two.
"I believe in this team," Booker said. "It was a close one but we came out with the win.
"We rely on our defence. To hold a team like that to 80 points on their home court is impressive."