The Phoenix Suns are preparing for a crucial Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, April 18. After a 115-110 loss in Game 1, Phoenix needs to take care of business to prevent falling into a 0-2 deficit.
As if there wasn’t enough suspense before Tuesday night’s game, the NBA announced that referee Scott Foster will be the crew chief for Game 2. Suns and NBA fans were quick to react on Twitter when it came to the news that Foster would be officiating Game 2. That news especially carries weight, when it comes to the history between Foster and Suns star point guard Chris Paul.
Paul has lost 14 consecutive postseason games when Foster has been officiating, dating all the way back to 2008. Foster is one of the most well-known referees in the NBA, as he’s been officiating for 28 years. But Foster and Paul have also had their fair share of battles in the postseason.
During his tenure with the Houston Rockets, Paul and former teammate James Harden expressed their displeasure with Foster as a referee. As a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul openly called out Foster for his performance during crucial playoff games.
Suns Look to Bounce Back Despite Scott Foster News
Phoenix understands the magnitude of the situation heading into Game 2 against the Clippers. After losing Game 1, the Clippers have taken control of home court advantage for the remainder of the series. That means that the Suns will attempt to even the series in Game 2, before potentially stealing back home court advantage on the road in the next two games.
While there was already plenty of suspense surrounding Tuesday night’s game, the news involving Scott Foster is going to draw plenty of buzz with NBA fans. Since Paul joined the Suns in 2020, the Suns are 3-2 in regular season games. In 2022-23 alone, the Suns managed to go 2-1 in games in which Foster was the official for the regular season. But in the playoffs, the Suns and Paul have lost their last four games in which Foster has officiated.
The most recent loss includes Game 2 of the 2022 opening round series against the New Orleans Pelicans. Phoenix had an injury to superstar Devin Booker during that game, which allowed a red-hot Pelicans team to pull off a 125-114 upset on the road.
Suns Coach Monty Williams on Game 2: ‘You Got to Bring It’
One of the most notable developments from Game 1 was the slow start by the Suns. Phoenix trailed 30-18 after the first quarter and found themselves down by as many as 16 points at one point. After fighting their way back into the game, the Suns found themselves up 77-68 at one point in the second half.
That was until an impressive 12-point third quarter from Kawhi Leonard saw the game tied at 81 heading into the fourth. Leonard would finish the game with 38 points, five rebounds and five assists on 13-of-24 shooting. The Clippers would step up to make a number of clutch plays in the fourth, including a game-sealing block by star Russell Westbrook.
Suns head coach Monty Williams spoke to the media after Monday’s practice. Williams commented on the slow start from Game 1 and was asked how he could get more “juice” from his team in Game 2. In a clip shared by Trevor Booth of Bright Side of the Sun, Williams emphasized that his team will be better in Game 2.
“You got to bring it. It starts actually right now… we’ll be better tomorrow.”