The Phoenix Suns will take on the Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals Saturday night. Tip-off is set for 9 pm at the Staples Center.
Suns vs Clippers – A Closer Look
The Los Angeles Clippers found themselves down 0-2 for the third consecutive series in these playoffs. Paul George missed two crucial free throws with less than 20 seconds to go to give life to the Suns.0
After a missed three-point attempt that caramed out of bounds off the Clippers, Phoenix had one more chance. The refs took a while to determine the amount of time left which gave head coach Monty Williams all the time he needed.
DeAndre Ayton rolled off a curl screen from Devin Booker and caught perfect inbounds pass from Jae Crowder to win the game on a play they are calling the “valley-oop”. All of this without their star point guard Chris Paul.
Then in Game 3, the Clippers responded, despite the return of Paul, with a resounding 106-92 win at home in a game that they had control of from the tip. Paul George said after Game 4 that he knew he had to be better and he was coming up big for LA with 27 points including a dominant third quarter.
It was a gutsy performance from a team that really needed it after losing Kawhi Leonard for what seems to be the entirety of the year.
“We continue to chip away, try to find ways we can be better and impose our will on opponents,”
Clippers guard Reggie Jackson said.
“We showed a lot of heart, a lot of fight.”
Devin Booker was forced to wear a mask in Game 3 because of his broken nose and it seemed to throw him all out of whack. Booker finished with just 15 points on 5-21 shooting which is his worst performance of the season.
This sets the stage for a crucial Game 4 for Paul George and the Clippers. It won’t be easy for the Clippers to even the series as the Phoenix Suns have only had four back-to-back losses the season.
The Suns are coming in as one point favorites in a pivotal playoff road game. The question remains how the mask and Patrick Beverly will affect Devin Booker’s efficiency going forward.
Many were comparing Booker to the late great Kobe Bryant for his tenacity and ability to score the basketball. Although, in Game 3 that wasn’t so much the case.
Even in Game 2 despite a go-ahead jumper late, he finished with 20 points on 5-16 shooting after Clippers head coach Ty Lue decided to put Beverly on him.
Chris Paul showed signs of rust without playing in 10 days due to contracting COVID-19. The future hall of famer scored just 15 points on 5-19 shooting. He seemed tired with many of his jump shots coming up short and just wasn’t able to blow past defenders.
The Suns are very hopeful that Cam Payne can return for Game 4. This would be a huge boost for Phoenix as the Clippers struggled to contain his ability to penetrate the defense and speed up the pace of play.
“We’ll see,” head coach Monty Williams said on the status of guard Cam Payne.
“He tried to come back and it just wouldn’t allow him to get back out there on the floor. So I’ll get more of an update when I go in the back.”
If Cam Payne remains out you can expect a heavy dose of Booker along with Chris Paul trying to shape into form to try and give the Suns a decisive 3-1 series lead.
Right now, the Suns are just the better team going up against a depleted Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard. In Game 3, Paul and Booker combined for just 40 points and that isn’t something that is likely to continue.
Suns vs Clippers Game 4 Betting Prediction
I would take Phoenix at -1 to get a resounding 3-1 in the Conference Finals on the road.
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