The LA Clippers have seemingly been handed another script, as this is the third series in a row in which they find themselves down 0-2. Will they follow the same narrative they had against the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz and win Game 3, or will the Suns roast LA again?
Catch this game live on Friday, June 25, at 9 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: LA Clippers (0-2, 0-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Patrick Beverley
- SG: Reggie Jackson
- SF: Paul George
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
Let’s get this out of the way first: Kawhi Leonard will not play Friday against the Suns, as he continues to nurse a right knee sprain.
There seems to be a conundrum for the Clippers on whether to go small again just like they did in the previous two series or stick to giving Ivica Zubac significant minutes. On one hand, Zubac gives them a big body to throw at Deandre Ayton. On the other hand, that tactic hasn’t been working out too well for them in the series.
Batum could get more minutes in Game 3, as the Clippers look for ways to keep up with Phoenix. They have been doing a good job in that area, as they have only lost by a total of seven points over the first two games of the Western Conference Finals and if not for the missed free throws by Paul George, the series could have been tied heading into Game 3.
One thing that’s keeping the Clippers somehow afloat is their outside shooting, as LA is burying 40.7 of its shots from long distance. They were great in front of their fans in the Western Conference Semifinals, and they can really use the boost from their home court after a morale-killing Game 2.
The Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after absorbing a loss.
ROAD TEAM: Phoenix Suns (2-0, 0-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul (Probable)
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
Just as everyone predicted before the season even began, Cameron Payne scored 29 points on 50 FG% in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The ‘Suns in 4’ battle cry remains relevant in the series, as a result of Phoenix’s win on Tuesday.
As good as Payne was in that game, the Suns will not hesitate a bit to start Chris Paul in Game 3. The Point God intends to suit up for Game 3, and while that’s not entirely up to him, he’s reportedly passed a final test to determine his availability. In any case, the Suns will continue to be a problem for the Kawhi-less Clippers because of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Booker went just 5 of 16 in Game 2 but was 9 of 9 from the foul line, while Ayton ate people in the shaded area on his way to a 24-point game. The Suns have a 61.2 TS% in the conference finals, the highest among the final four teams.
Phoenix will enter Game 3 with a 7-1-1 ATS record in its last nine games as the favorite.
Spread: Cameron Payne just had his Terance Mann Game 6 moment, but I don’t expect the former Murray State star to erupt again. There would be more stability on the side of the Clippers in Game 3, as well. Take the Clippers to win and cover (+1).
Over/Under: This will be as tight as Game 2. Take the Under (221.0)