Suns guard Devin Booker (1) defends Clippers guard Russell Westbrook (0) (Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1)

Although the Clippers played with heart in Game Three of their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, they fell short 124-129.

In the effort, Clippers guard Norman Powell dished out 42 points. Guard Russell Westbrook almost secured a triple double with 30 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists.

“I loved our fight, our competitive nature,” said Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue. “I thought everybody brought it.”

Westbrook became the fourth player in franchise history with at least 25 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds in a postseason game.

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Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) scored 28 points (Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1)

When head coach Tyronn Lue found out that forward Kawhi Leonard would also be out along with Paul George, he told Westbrook to stay true to himself while competing. Westbrook noted how he was grateful at how Lue allowed him to be himself on the hardwood.

“To be able to have coaches communicate, allowing me to go be aggressive and have confidence in my abilities on the floor, it’s very important to me,” Westbrook said. “I go to the drawing board, find ways to be effective and help guys around me, which I enjoy more than anything else.”

Westbrook was slow to start, only scoring six points in the first quarter. He lamented over his turnovers; he had five in the first half. The Suns scored 16 points off 12 turnovers the Clippers made at that point.

“Self-inflicted wounds … a lot of that is my fault,” Westbrook said. “In the second half, we did a much better job of that.”

Clippers guard Norman Powell elevates for a dunk (Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1)

Powell kept the Clippers in the game with 22 points by halftime. Lue liked how Powell provided a variety of shots in the contest.

“The three-ball, getting to the basket, getting to the mid-range floaters,” Lue said. “It was huge, we knew we needed a big game from him with [Leonard] being out.”

In the third quarter alone, Westbrook scored 15 points. This helped the Clippers score a collective 34 points in the phase. Yet the Suns scored 40 points in that same amount of time.

Suns guard Devin Booker proved to be a formidable opponent, leading all scorers with 45 points. Lue noted how Booker’s “shiftiness” was a challenge for the Clippers.

“He was able to reject the fires … he was able to split the blitzes,” Lue said. “He was able to split us and dribble around us a lot as well, so we just got to lock into that and understand that we got to do better.”

Game Four of the Clippers vs Suns series is on Saturday, April 23 at 12:30P.M.