The Los Angeles Clippers take on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night looking to avoid their third straight 0-2 playoff series hole. It’s time to continue our NBA Playoffs odds series and make a Clippers-Suns prediction and pick.
The Suns now stand at 9-2 in the postseason overall. Phoenix is also 9-2 against the spread and has won eight straight games in the playoffs
The Clippers stand at 8-6 in the postseason overall, with an ATS record of 6-5-1. They are 4-3 on the road in the playoffs after dropping Game 1 in Phoenix
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Clippers-Suns odds for Game 2.
NBA Odds: Clippers-Suns Game 2 Odds
Los Angeles Clippers +4.5 (-115)
Phoenix Suns -4.5 (-105)
Over 223 Points (-110)
Under 223 Points (-110)
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
The running joke heading into Game 2 is that the Clippers are one loss away from having the Suns right where they want them. Twice in this postseason the Clippers have faced an 0-2 deficit, and twice they’ve recovered to win the series.
Obviously, Ty Lue’s group will be doing everything to even this series. However, they’ll play this one without pressure on their backs, which should help their shooters loosen up a little.
The Clippers’ offense depends on their 3-point shooting. Los Angeles held the highest 3-point shooting percentage in the regular season and is currently shooting 40.3% from deep in the playoffs.
Because of their dependency on the 3-pointer, the Clippers badly need their role players to hit their open shots, in particular Marcus Morris. When Morris hits at least three 3-pointers, the Clips are 4-1 this postseason. When he finishes under that total, L.A. is 4-5.
With Kawhi Leonard out, the Clippers’ mid-range and paint threats are not very scary. Besides Paul George and Morris, and occasionally Reggie Jackson, the Clips don’t have many three-level scorers. However, they do have the firepower beyond the arc to keep them in this game.
On the defensive end, Los Angeles has its hands full with a red-hot Suns squad. As a counter, the Clips will answer with multiple All-Defensive players and a handful of quality perimeter defenders.
The Clippers will rely on a group effort to slow Booker, similar to how they defended Luka Doncic and Donovan Mitchell in their previous two series. Hard traps and constant doubles will be thrown at the Suns star to turn him into a playmaker instead of a scorer.
When the ball is out of Book’s hands, the Clippers have Morris, Nicolas Batum, and Patrick Beverley to hound the Suns’ other scorers. If anyone can slow this red-hot Suns group, it’s the Clippers.
Why The Suns Could Cover The Spread
The Suns have looked nearly unbeatable at home during this playoff run. The only loss they have at Phoenix Suns Arena came weeks ago to the defending champion Lakers. Since then, they have won four straight home games.
So, how have the Suns sprinted through the Western Conference so far? The answer lies in an all-hands-on-deck offensive approach and adaptable defense.
Phoenix put up 120-plus points in four of its last five games, led by Devin Booker. Booker has taken his first postseason by storm, averaging 29.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists while shooting 49.1% from the field and 38.2% from 3. When the Suns need a bucket, the ball is going to Book.
However, Booker hasn’t been the only source of offense. Five Suns reached double-digit scoring in four of their last five games. In Game 1, there were six Suns who reached at least 10 points, with Torrey Craig coming up a bucket shy of making it seven.
Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Payne, and Deandre Ayton have been consistent sources of offense nearly all postseason. The Suns do not give opponents breaks on defense, and whatever unit they field can get buckets.
Defensively, the Suns have molded to match whatever opponent they face. Against the Lakers, they made L.A. shoot 3s and held them to the lowest 3-point percentage of any team in the first round. Against the Denver Nuggets, they did the same and forced Denver to under 36% shooting from the arc in three out of four games.
Now, against the Clippers, the Suns are focusing on making George and company score in the paint and go head-to-head against Ayton. The Clips only scored 34 points in the paint in Game 1, and their typical small-ball lineup they used against the Utah Jazz struggled against a Suns defense that funneled them to the interior.
If the Clippers’ 3-ball isn’t falling, this game will get ugly fast.
Final Clippers-Suns Prediction & Pick
When it comes down to it, Kawhi Leonard’s absence hurts the Clippers more than Chris Paul’s absence hurts the Suns. The Clippers are reliant on Paul George to be excellent for them to even have a shot in this game. The Suns, on the other hand, have a variety of scoring options and can win even with a mediocre Booker performance. Add in the fact that the Suns’ home court has been almost impossible to win on and that the Clippers probably don’t see this as a must-win game, and I’ll take the Suns to go up 2-0.
FINAL CLIPPERS-SUNS PREDICTION AND PICK: PHX 118, LAC 110 (PHOENIX SUNS -4.5)