The Suns will try to end this series at home on Tuesday night. The injuries have killed the Clippers’ chances in this series. This looks like a close-out game for the Suns.
Phoenix has an outstanding backcourt combination in Chris Paul and Devin Booker, but Kevin Durant is the final piece missing from their quest for their first NBA championship. While Los Angeles gave them quite the scare in game one against them, Phoenix is likely going far this postseason in its bid for glory.
Los Angeles appears poised for elimination with Leonard and George both officially out again, making their chances of survival less likely after their game one victory. How quickly events have changed in this series; some pundits had penciled them in as favorites after winning game 1. One has to wonder whether Leonard-George will remain teammates after four seasons together, having amassed 142 total games played together, with a 70.3 winning percentage in regular season games and 54.1 in postseason contests. Both still have two years remaining on their contracts, but keeping either player may no longer be in their team’s best interest?
What exactly are the Clippers playing for these days? Without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available, Los Angeles doesn’t stand much chance of making progress in these playoffs. Without those players around to keep scores respectable in closeout games, Russell Westbrook’s hustle may go unappreciated if asked to carry an offensive load that isn’t his forte.
Phoenix has come out swinging since falling behind early, outplaying Los Angeles from start to finish and easily winning game four. They scored 48 points in the paint while outrebounding them 49-33 and pulling down 14 offensive rebounds; additionally, they hit 9 of 22 three-point attempts (40.9%).
Though this spread may appear large, I believe it to be fair. With 5-23 against-the-spread results in their last 28 games played on two days’ rest, the Clippers aren’t equipped for battle in the valley on Tuesday. I would be shocked if this game stays close for more than a quarter. The Suns possess the killer instinct to take down an already struggling Clippers team.
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