Without their leading scorer and leader Kawhi Leonard, the LA Clippers fell behind the Phoenix Suns 3-1 in the Western Conference finals. The pesky Clippers, thanks to the heroics of Paul “Playoff P” George, staved off elimination with a clutch road victory in Game 5 to trim the deficit. Can the Clippers pull off their comeback magic once again in Game 6 against the Suns with the series heading back to Los Angeles?
The Clippers have been knocked down a lot during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, but they always get back up and succeed. They were down 0-2 in the first round, but defeated the Dallas Mavericks in seven games. The Clippers fell behind 0-2 against the top-seeded Utah Jazz, but won four games in a row to lock up the series in six games.
|Game 6: #2 Phoenix Suns (3-2) vs. LA Clippers (2-3)|
- Tip-off: 6 pm PT
- Location: Staples Center, LA
- Point Spread: Pick ’em
- Total: 215 o/u
- Money Line: LAC -110 / PHX -110
- Series Line: LAC +400 / PHX -560
The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, but failed to deliver a knock-out blow in Game 5. They’re still just one win away from securing a spot in the NBA Finals.
Game 6: Betting the Clippers/Suns
Game 6 of the Western Conference finals is considered a pick’em at many offshore books, but you can find the Clippers -1 at books in Las Vegas. The Clippers are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games. The Suns are 1-3 against the spread in their last four games after they unleashed a smoking 9-0 ATS clip in the first two rounds.
Oddsmakers and bettors still think the Suns will finish off the Clippers to advance to the NBA Finals. The Clippers are +400 underdogs to win the series, while the Suns are -560 odds. The Suns are the consensus favorites to win the 2021 NBA championship at -150 odds, according to the Circa Sports Book and Casino in downtown Las Vegas, whereas the Clippers are the long shot on the board at +650 odds.
In his earliest days in the league with the Indiana Pacers, George was called PG-13 because he wore #13 on his jersey. However, when George plays well in the postseason, especially with the Clippers, he’s referred to his other moniker — Playoff P.
With each game without Leonard, the legend of Playoff P continues to grow as he’s become the primary focal point for the Clippers.
Since Kawhi injured his knee in the West semifinals, Playoff P averaged 29.4 ppg for the Clippers. Playoff P set a new career-high with 41 points in Game 5, which also set a team mark for most points in a postseason game by a Clipper. He shot a highly efficient 15-for-20 from the floor, and shot 3-for-6 from 3-point range. He also went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line after drawing heat for missing clutch free throws down the stretch of previous games.
“We weren’t going to back down,” said George. “We weren’t going to throw in the towel. The fact of the matter is they’ve got to beat us.”
The Clippers didn’t have starting center Ivan Zubac (knee sprain) in Game 5, and he’s listed as questionable for Game 6. Even without two starters, the Clippers prevailed.
“The group of guys we’ve got, I love those guys,” said head coach Ty Lue. “They compete every single night no matter who is on the floor. The work’s not done. We’ve got to do it again two more times.”
Suns still in control … for now
The Suns looked like crap at the start of Game 6 and dug themselves a grave after the Clippers opened a 20-5 lead at the onset of the first quarter.
“It is just unacceptable the way we started the game,” said Suns head coach Monty Williams. “Big hole for us. It is pretty obvious that we can’t play with the show-up mentality. We showed up in the first quarter and they played with desperation.”
“They came out and they were the aggressors,” said Chris Paul. “They looked like us in Game 4. We’ve got to be better. They hit us, they were too comfortable.”
Paul and Devin Booker combined for 53 points, but the rest of the three starters combined for just 19 points. Deandre Ayton, who dominated the Clippers earlier in the series, had a quiet night with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges combined for just nine points, including 1-for-6 from 3-point range.
The Suns failed to close out the series on their home court and now have to go on the road and try to steal a win in front of the glitzy crowd in Hollywood. If there’s a Game 7, the Suns will host it back in Phoenix. But Williams and the Suns don’t want to risk blowing a 3-1 lead, and want to put away the Clippers in Game 6.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.