It’s a meeting of two Western Conference teams who are just 0.5 game away from each other in the standings. The Phoenix Suns will look to protect that lead and also go up 3-0 in the season series.
Catch the game tomorrow at 11:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Phoenix Suns (32-27, 20-9 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Chris Paul
- Devin Booker
- Josh Okogie
- Torrey Craig
- DeAndre Ayton
The Suns are living up to their name again after that horrendous stretch in December and January. They head to the game as winners in 11 of their last 14 games, averaging 113.4 points per game in that span. The last two victories also came after they lost key rotation guys Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson in the Kevin Durant trade.
Defense has been the key in the Suns’ two wins over the Clippers this season. They held them to just 95 points on both occasions on a combined 40.7% shooting – Kawhi Leonard was out in the first one and Leonard and Paul George were out in the second, but still.
What’s scary whenever Phoenix flexes its defense is knowing its main strength is the star backcourt of Chris Paul (13.9 PPG, 9.0 APG) and Devin Booker (26.8 PPG), who are elites on offense.
Big man DeAndre Ayton will lead the defense and should be in a good matchup opposite Ivica Zubac. The bigger point, however, is the wings’ clash versus Leonard and George, who will be on attack mode given the circumstances.
Phoenix is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games overall.
AWAY: LA Clippers (32-28, 17-15 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Paul George
- Terrence Man
- Kawhi Leonard
- Markieff Morris
- Ivica Zubac
The Clippers have gone hot-and-cold again. After a strong, five-game winning streak in the stretch prior, they went an underwhelming 4-4 in their next eight games with a -1.7 net rating. They’re still fourth in points allowed, though, at 111.2 per game
As mentioned, they are also 0-2 in the two prior meetings with the Suns, failing to go over 95 points in both contests. Hopefully, with Leonard (22.3 PPG) and George (23.2 PPG) both expected to suit up tomorrow, things will be different. PG had minimal help facing a top-notch two-way team in the first encounter and was held to a quiet 16 points; Kawhi, meanwhile, should be in ‘go’ mode as he faces Phoenix for the first time this season.
Marcus Morris will be the star duo’s main secondary help. He’s averaging 18 PPG in the season series, which includes going for 22 points on 10-for-14 shooting in one of the games. Center Ivica Zubac (10.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG) and Terrence Mann (8.9 PPG) roundout the supporting cast, with Norman Powell out.
The Clippers are 1-3 ATS in their last four games overall.
Handicap: The Suns (-1.5) win a hard-fought game.
Over/Under: The total goes under 223.5.