With Utah unable to beat a miserable Minnesota team recently, they have kept alive the Phoenix Suns chances of snagging the West Conference’s top seed. Yet lurking behind the Suns are the Los Angeles Clippers who are two games in the loss column behind Phoenix going into tonight. It’s too bad we couldn’t have a full house in downtown Phoenix this evening, but the action figures to be as hot as the desert sun.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at PHX Arena
This is the third confrontation between these division rivals and Los Angeles has won and covered both. The initial two meetings featured technical fouls, flagrant fouls, ejections and s high volume of trash talking.
“There are going to be games like this where it is going to be chippy,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said. “They are fighting for something, we are fighting for something, so it is going to happen and I am OK with it.”
The NBA odds at Unibet have Phoenix as 3.5-point home favorites with a total of 222.5.
Clippers Hoping to Have All Hands on Deck Wednesday
Among the aspects that make beating the online sportsbooks a real challenge is when the obvious doesn’t happen. The Clippers had not enjoyed much success at New Orleans of late (1-4 ATS) and had won four straight and 11 of 12 and were only two-point road favorites in Nawlins, easy money right? WRONG! The Clips were outscored by 13 in the first quarter and never threatened the Pelicans.
After averaging almost 30 PPG over an eight-game stretch, Paul George scored only nine and injured his ankle. Though most would expect him to play versus Phoenix, when it comes to George and Kawki Leonard, one never knows night to night.
No early word on Leonard, however, the speculation is he could play against Phoenix since he made the trip to the bayou. Having Leonard and George creates matchup advantages for the Clips against the Suns.
DeMarcus Cousins is making a bid to be on the Clippers postseason roster, after having 16 points and 11 rebounds Monday and he could be a factor for L.A. with similar production in this massive matchup.
Suns Defense Has to Tighten Up and Possibly Juggle Minutes
After being among the top defensive teams all season, Phoenix has allowed six of the last seven opponents to connect on 48 percent or more of their attempts. It is not a coincidence the Suns are 4-3 (2-4-1 ATS) in this period. We are the first to acknowledge the last five contests were on the road and against some very good competition in the Eastern Conference.
However, with the Clippers tonight and Utah in town Friday, recapturing the effort and cohesiveness that made them a Top 5 defense in field goal percentage and efficiency needs to return. Coach Monty Williams’ crew has fallen into a Top 10 unit.
Maybe fatigue or playing an extremely tough schedule is taking its toll. The next two battles are important to send the right message, but honestly, the Suns should only focus on maintaining their current position in the conference standings.
After Friday, only seven games remain and Chris Paul should sit four of those and have limited minutes in the other three. Being the catalyst, Paul’s value increases in the postseason so having him as fresh as possible is imperative. And Williams would be wise to rest others and go all out to beat the Clippers and Jazz and trust you have enough to handle the weaker foes on the upcoming schedule.
The Point Spread Winner
Like many of the Suns’ recent tilts, this should be outstanding viewing on ESPN and a 48 minutes nail-biter for those making NBA picks.
This will come down to offensive efficiency in finding the best shots and making them. Each squad is in the Top 7 in offensive field goal percentage. Both hit a high percentage of threes, yet create ball movement and penetration for an ample number of two-point attempts, they regularly convert.
That places a burden on the defense and that will be especially so in the final five minutes which becomes about forcing rushed and well-guarded attempts that go awry.
Against the sportsbooks, we will trust the Suns to extract double revenge. While we are not crazy about the half-point at -3.5 and knowing Los Angeles is 16-5 ATS off a road loss by 10 points or more, we also find Phoenix is 9-1 ATS as a home favorite of six points or less, winning by over 10 PPG this season. That works!
NBA Picks: Suns -3.5 points (-110) at Unibet