Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers Preview
The Phoenix Suns will travel to Los Angeles for a divisional matchup against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Tuesday night. The Suns come into the matchup with a record of 11-15, sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, and have a record of 5-5 on the road. The big problem for them right now? They have lost three straight games and their franchise guard, Devin Booker is listed as day-to-day with a forearm injury.
The Clippers have not fully jelled, and have fought through a variation of injuries, load management for possible injuries, and…being asked incessantly about the aforementioned load management. L.A.’s other team, led by the best wing duo in the league comes into the game with a record of 20-8, sits in the second spot in the West, and has a record of 13-1 at home.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Suns: Devin Booker (O), Tyler Johnson (O)
Clippers: Patrick Beverly (Q), JaMychal Green (Q), Kawhi Leonard (Q), Lou Williams (Q)
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
The Sun’s most recent loss, a 111-110 loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night was a tough pill to swallow. The final play of the game was an and-1 layup from Damian Lillard with 26 seconds left, as officials reviewed Aron Baynes’ attempt to take a charge. Baynes was called for a blocking foul on the play and Lillard iced the game with the free throw.
The Blazers led the Suns for most of the fourth quarter, but Phoenix managed to pull ahead 110-108 with 32 seconds remaining as Kelly Oubre Jr. converted on a four-point play. Teammate Ricky Rubio connected with Oubre on a perfectly drawn inbounds play and as Oubre Jr. shot the ball Portland’s Kent Bazemore bumped into him.
The subsequent play was the Lillard drive to win the game. Rubio had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but his 3-point attempt clanked off the rim with 2 seconds remaining.
“There’s a lot of opinions in there, but if I would have made the shot, we would’ve won the game,” Rubio said. “It was almost a buzzer-beater. We’ll take that every day.”
Oubre led the Suns with 24 points. Saric and Frank Kaminsky III chipped in 17 points each for Phoenix who played their second game without their star shooting guard Devin Booker.
The Suns need Booker back as soon as possible. Despite their recent slide they are not far removed from the eighth seed. Some good news, however: the Sun’s franchise center, Deandre Ayton is set to make his return after serving a 25-game suspension. If Booker can get back on the court soon and Ayton steps right in with star-level production I like the Suns’ chances going forward.
Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup
The Clippers may sit in the no. 2 spot in the West, and they are my pick to win the Finals, but they’ve had some tough losses this season. Their most recent loss was against the Bulls on Saturday. L.A. played without Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, and Kawhi Leonard; but a 109-106 loss to the lowly Chicago Bulls is still a disappointment.
Chicago’s Zach LaVine scored 31 points and converted the game-winning three-point play: with the score tied at 106, the Bulls inbounded the ball with 5.4 seconds remaining, LaVine drove on Montrezl Harrell, scored and was fouled.
Paul George tried to tie the game up at the buzzer but his 3-point attempt didn’t fall.
Harrell led the way for the Clippers with 30 points. He also added seven rebounds but he struggled from the field, shooting 9-for-24 (37.5 percent). George had 27 points, four rebounds, six assists, and two steals, but the Clippers needed more.
The game was the Clippers’ third game in four days and the final game of a six-game road trip.
The Clippers ceiling is that of an all-time great defensive team, but injuries have kept us from seeing them at full strength. Which is fine. Doc River is taking a cautious approach with his team, and it’s the right move. This team is playing for the playoffs, not for games in November and December. Most importantly, the Clippers are eighth in offense, seventh in defense, and fifth in net rating. If this is how they look while playing musical chairs with their lineups imagine this team when everyone settles in.
Key Player Matchups
Paul George vs. Kelly Oubre
Paul George and his new shoulders look great out there. George looks like he hasn’t missed a beat; he’s still a master at slithering through screens on defense and his shot looks great. The 6-foot-8 wing is shooting 40.2 percent from the 3 and 90.8 percent on his free throws. His matchup for tonight’s game is a player who plays with a lot of energy. Kelly Oubre Jr. is having a career year: he’s averaging 17.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. I’m expecting good two-way action from both guys tonight.
Ivica Zubac vs. Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton is back. A 25-game suspension for a banned substance derailed the start of Ayton’s sophomore season, but he’s returning to the fold just in time. The Suns have been without Booker, so having Ayton back in the lineup will relieve some pressure off of Oubre and Rubio. The 6-foot-11 center might be a little rusty, but his advantage over Zubac will be his energy.
The Clippers hold the best wing duo in the league on the court and for fantasy owners as well. Leonard and George are stat sheet fillers who can be counted on for high-level production against any opponent. Leonard is available for a salary of $10k on FanDuel with projections for 43.3 points. George is not far behind with a salary of $9.6k and fantasy projections for 39.4.
For the Suns, you can count on Ayton showing out. He’s a fantasy beast and my expectation is that tonight will be no different. He’s not coming off of an injury so I don’t expect any minute restrictions. Ayton is available for $7.9k on FanDuel with his fantasy projections set for 32.1.
Bet on Matchup
If you’re in Pennsylvania, you can bet on this matchup. Sports betting is legal in PA. Our top-rated online sportsbook bonus offers can be found in our articles: Fanduel Sportsbook promo code, DraftKings Sportsbook promo code & Pointsbet promo code.