Phoenix Suns (10-3, 2-1) at Los Angeles Clippers (9-7, 1-2)
- Time: 6 PST – 8 CST – 9 EST
- Place: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
- TV: ESPN
The Los Angeles Clippers arrived in this series on Thursday night with a 106-92 win over the Phoenix Suns.
While Paul George once again was a game leader with 27 points, Reggie Jackson popped in 23 as he continues to play Robin to George’s Batman with Kawhi Leonard still missing and out for Game 4 with the knee injury.
Chris Paul was back for the Suns after missing Games 1 and 2 to COVID-19 protocols and then Devin Booker had to adjust himself to wearing his mask with a broken nose that he sustained in Game 2 .
Paul finished at 5-for-19 from the field with 15 points and 12 assists while Booker was 5-for-21 with 15 points, but only one three.
Terrance Mann came alive in the third quarter with 10 of his 12 points and George had 10 as well, including banking a half-court heave off the glass to end the quarter. This turned a 48-46 halftime deficit into an 80-69 Clippers lead after three quarters.
During the last two games, the officials have allowed the two teams to play and the extra contact has been an issue for the Suns who have seen Devin Booker go down with the broken nose in Game 2 and struggle on Thursday night. Cam Payne, who had played flawlessly in Games 1 and 2 went out with an ankle injury in Game 3.
If the referees do not call the obvious extra contact on the Clippers in Game 4 and throughout the rest of the series, Los Angeles will take the upper hand and eventually knock the Suns out.
- Suns – Cam Payne – (ankle) – Probable
- Clippers – Kawhi Leonard – (right knee sprain); Serge Ibaka (back) – OUT; Marcus Morris – (ankle) – Questionable;
Vs. The Spread:
Suns (51-32-2, ATS)
- The total has been UNDER in 4 of Phoenix’s last 6 games
- Phoenix is 8-2 ATS in it’s last 10 games
- The Suns check in at 5-13 ATS in their last 18 games vs. LAC
Clippers (49-37-2, ATS)
- Los Angeles is 6-1 ATS in it’s last 7 games
- The Clippers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against the Suns
- The UNDER has been the call in 5 of LA’s 7 games vs. Pacific Division competition
Advantage, Los Angeles:
The Clippers need to continue to ramp up the physical play until the referees adjust, which you would have thought would have already happened based on the impactful injuries to Booker and Payne. Paul George is only shooting 38.7 percent from the field in the series, but his leadership has been impactful in empowering his teammates. Reggie Jackson is becoming a solid third option (with Leonard on the floor) and in this series, he has made 51.3 percent of his shots and 37 percent from three in averaging 22 points in the first three games.
Key Clippers Stat:
Ivica Zubac is becoming an issue in the series, not to belabor the way Game 2 and 3 were officiated, but his physicality in the paint allows LA to have a post presence. He is averaging 12.7 points and 10.0 boards per game and has made 9-of-16 shots. His aggression on DeAndre Ayton hasn’t deterred the Suns’ big man, but if the contact on Suns’ slashers is allowed, his value goes up interminably.
Terance Mann is getting the reputation of scoring in waves as we have seen him do at points this season. He was a key on Thursday with the 10 in the early part of the third quarter. His confidence in his three as well as in transition makes him a tough cover. T-Mann’s 39 in the Game 6 clincher vs. Utah has pushed him to the top echelon on the Phoenix game plan.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Phoenix Suns||-1 (-110)||O 218 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1 (-110)||U 218 (-110)|
It stands to reason that now as Chris Paul has gotten his legs back under him in Game 3, he will look more like himself tonight. He had a tough shooting night but turned into more of a facilitator although the Suns needed his scoring. He didn’t push the issue. It also feels like Devin Booker will be used to the mask he has to wear with his broken nose. No matter what is said, when you are a shooter and you depend on the focus to accentuate you shots and find your shots, that mask is an extra barrier, but is a necessary must. Look for the Suns duo to bounce back and acquit themselves this evening.
Key Suns Stat:
Deandre Ayton is turning into a big time contributor in averting 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds and making 71.4 percent of his shots (31/42) as his athleticism has been a major plus vs. Zubac’s physicality. Think back to the inbounds pass from Jae Crowder that he stuffed to win Game 2. He was way above Zubac, who doesn’t have hop compared to Ayton. He is getting in the mid-30s in minutes and is becoming a potential MVP of the series for Phoenix.
Cameron Payne’s contributions in this series have been amazing as he has stepped up off the bench when the Suns need him as he has made 14-of-20 shots, including five threes in averaging 11.7 points in these three games. Check when his shots are made and what the score is as his play has been clutch to the nth degree.
Winner: Clippers (+1) 112, Suns 110 (-110)