Game 2. The score in the series is 1-0.
Venue: Phoenix Suns Arena.
Phoenix, after beating the Clippers in Game 1, greatly improved their chances of reaching the NBA Finals. Even without Chris Paul, the Suns are still heavily favoured in Game 2. Will the home team be able to double its lead?
The Suns have won eight straight games in the current playoffs, with Chris Paul having health problems as the postseason progressed. After barely recovering from a shoulder injury, the veteran star tested positive for coronavirus and will be out for Game 2. Still, the rest of the Phoenix players have improved immensely and Deandre Ayton has surprised the most. The Suns centre is very good on defense, although he was criticized by everyone at the beginning of the season. In the playoffs, Ayton is averaging 15.6 points while shooting 71.6 percent from the field. Devin Booker is also in great form. Bridges, Payne and Crowder are worth mentioning. As for team statistics, Monty Williams’ charges led their team in average assists (25.3), ranked 3rd in shooting from the field (48.9%) and hit the free throws the best (86.9%).
In Game 1 against the Clippers, Devin Booker showed an incredible performance, recording his first career triple-double. The young guard had 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was a tightly contested game, with neither team trailing by more than 10 points at any point. The Suns were better on the fast break, committing only 7 turnovers and making 13 of their 32 three-pointers. Ayton was again unstoppable and made 10 of his 14 shots for 20 points.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers managed to come back from 0-2 down twice in the current playoffs and the spirit of this team is enviable. Los Angeles had already pulled out the series with Utah without Kawhi Leonard. The star forward is rumoured to have a ruptured cruciate ligament, but the club has yet to officially confirm that information. Offensively, however, Terance Mann has shined, averaging 20.3 points in his last 3 games. Reggie Jackson has been very good of late, while Paul George has averaged 33 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 3 meetings. As a result, Tyrone Liu’s team remained in the top 3 in 3-point shooting and 3-point conversion, and only Memphis had a lower average loss than the Clippers. Besides Leonard, the injured Serge Ibaka is out for the rest of the season, but Marcus Morris’s injury was not serious enough to force him to return to the floor in Game 2.
The Clippers made as many as 20 three-pointers in their last meeting but still lost to Phoenix with a score of 114-120. DeMarcus Cousins and Ivica Zubac couldn’t handle defence, and the small five against Ayton were difficult to play. That said, only three basketball players scored more than 10 points, and Reggie Jackson was the most effective, scoring 24 points on 10 of 19 from the field. Paul George made 7 of 15 three-point attempts, but his mid-range misses hurt his stats: 10 of 26 from the game and 34 points.
Expert Betting Tips
Without Chris Paul, Phoenix have had problems with playmaking and ball movement, and that could happen again in Game 2. The Suns are usually very good at defending at the arc, but last week’s meeting was troubling in that regard. Overall, the Clippers looked decent and came up just short to win. Paul George can step it up, Marcus Morris can spend more time on the floor, and LA’s small five has already produced wins in the current playoffs. I suggest betting on the following outcomes:
- Clippers Handicap (+6.5) with odds 1.77;
- Clippers to win with overtime for 2.90;
- Total Over 224.5 points for 1.95.