The LA Clippers stole home-court advantage with a solid 115-110 win in Game 1, and it’s even better when you consider that they did it without Paul George. The Phoenix Suns just played flat and should respond big in Game 2.
Catch the game tomorrow, April 18, at 10:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Phoenix Suns (0-1)
Projected starting five:
- Chris Paul
- Devin Booker
- Josh Okogie
- Kevin Durant
- DeAndre Ayton
The Suns simply couldn’t match the Clippers’ energy in Game 1, so despite clawing their way back from a 16-point deficit to take a lead in the second half, they eventually fell. It’s only one game, but they better wake up quick.
Kevin Durant, for one, had an uninspired start. While he finished with team-highs 27 points and 11 assists, he went scoreless in the first quarter on 0-for-4 shooting, something that helped the Clippers race into big lead early. The 34-year-old ought to be more assertive from the start tomorrow.
The same goes with Chris Paul, who was only 2-for-8 for seven points, granted he had 11 rebounds and 10 dimes. Devin Booker (26 pts) and DeAndre Ayton (18 pts, 8 rebs), meanwhile, did their usual, and we should see them be as such for Game 2.
Starting PF Torrey Craig chipped in a career-high tying 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting in the opener. We can’t expect him to do it again, but he’s definitely more confident know, so who knows?
AWAY: LA Clippers (1-0)
Projected starting five:
- Russell Westbrook
- Eric Gordon
- Kawhi Leonard
- Nicolas Batum
- Ivica Zubac
The Clippers blitzed the Suns from the opening tip, and with that, they controlled the contest all night, even in the times they were trailing. They got Phoenix chasing and second-guessing through four quarters.
As always, Kawhi Leonard led the way, tallying 25 of his game-high 38 points in the second half, alongside a full line of five rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block. Such scoring felt like a continuation of his last 18 regular season games, where he was in playoff form with 27.1 points per game. Look to see more of it in the postseason.
Eric Gordon and Ivica Zubac became his primary aid in the starting lineup, with the former chipping in 19 points and the latter posting a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook shot a horrific 3-for-19 from the floor, but he contributed well in other areas – 10 boards, eight dimes, two steals, and three blocks, one of which helped seal the game. His confidence is pretty high right now.
Norman Powell, meanwhile, scored 14 off the bench. He led the Clipps’ second unit, who also made a huge impact as they outscored their Suns counterparts, 34-10.
Handicap: The Suns (-8) will not cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total hits the over (226).