The Phoenix Suns hold a 2-0 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference finals with the series headed to LA for Game 3, but the Clippers won’t have Kawhi Leonard, who’s nursing a sprained kneed, in the line up. Chris Paul is listed as probable for the Suns after recovering from COVID-19 and he’s just awaiting the official go ahead before he returns after missing the first two games.
Without Paul, the Suns built a 2-0 lead by winning both of their home games in Phoenix. The Suns won Game 2 on Deandre Ayton alley-oop with less than a second on the clock, and the Clippers had a victory snatched from their grasp with a 104-103 loss.
|Game 3: #2 Phoenix Suns (2-0) vs. #4 LA Clippers (0-2)|
- Tip-off: 6 pm PT
- Location: Staples Center, LA
- Point Spread: PHX -2
- Total: 222 o/u
- Money Line: LAC +105 / PHX -115
- Series Line: LAC +575 / PHX -910
With the series now shifting to the bright lights of Hollywood, it’s up to the Clippers to finally get on the board with their first win and trim the Suns lead to 2-1. Otherwise, the Clippers will fall into a futile 0-3 hole.
Suns/Clippers Game 3 betting
The Suns are riding high on a nine-game winning streak, which set a franchise record. They’re also 8-1 ATS during that run.
The Clippers are +1.5 home dogs coming into Game 3, and are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 playoff games. After falling behind 0-2, the Clippers are now +575 odds to launch a comeback to win the series. The Suns are massive -910 odds to clinch the west and secure a spot in the NBA Finals.
The Suns are now the favorite at +100 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship after the Milwaukee Bucks lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks.
For Game 3, Kawhi is out, while Paul is listed as probable, but he’s ready to go after missing the first two games with COVID-19. Marcus Morris from the Clippers has a sore knee, but he’s expected to start.
PG-13 and Clips need help
Aside from George (30 ppg) and Reggie Jackson (21.5 ppg), the Clippers don’t have any reliable third or fourth scoring options with Kawhi out.
Terance Mann has been quiet ever since his coming out party with 39 points in Game 6 of the West semifinals. Mann scored just 17 points combined in the first two games with just four 3-pointers. He’s shooting 67.5% from the field, but he’s only taken nine shots in two games. The Suns did a stellar job shutting him down and not letting him be a major factor in this series. The Clips need to get him more open looks to help boost the offense.
Big man Ivan Zubac scored 14 points and added 11 rebounds after he returned to the starting lineup. The Clippers aren’t freaking out. Yet.
“You just have to win four games,” said Lue. “First to four.”
In the first round, the Clippers fell behind 0-2 against the Dallas Mavericks. In the opening series, the Clips lost both their home games and then had to go to Dallas down 0-2, where they secured two clutch wins to tie the series. Lue is confident the Clippers will get the job done, especially on their home court and in front of their fans.
“We’ve been great with our backs against the wall to rely on one another to pull ourselves out of it,” added George.
George struggled in Game 2. He shot 1-for-8 from 3-point range and missed back-to-back free throws late in the game to potentially seal the victory for the Clippers. George missed, which gave the Suns a chance to win the game.
Payne holds the line for Phoenix
The Suns caught a break when George, a career 85% free-throw shooter, clanked both of his shots from the charity stripe. Instead of being behind by three points, the Suns trailed by a single point with 0.9 seconds on the clock. Ayton scored on an alley-oop, just like Monty Williams drew it up in the huddle.
“I believed it could happen,” Booker said. “100%, bruh!”
Cameron Payne lit up the Clippers for a game-high 29 points in Game 2.
In two games, he tallied 18 assists and just one turnover, while doing a stellar job filling in for Paul. With Paul back in the lineup, Payne returns to the bench to provide the second unit with a bona fide Clippers-killer.
The Suns expect to have Paul back for Game 3. He cleared his cardiac test and tested negative for COVID-19 twice within the last 24 hours. The Suns should make it official after the morning shootaround on Thursday.
Jae Crowder inbounds it to Deandre Ayton above the rim for the @Suns win in #PhantomCam! #ThatsGame #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/WVNc9xnvio
— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Check out more of OG’s coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.