Phoenix (3-2) at LA Clippers (2-3)
When: Wednesday, June 30th, 2021
Where: Staples Center,
Los Angeles, CA
Time: 9:05 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -1/215.5
The Los Angeles Clippers might as well be called the Cardiac Kids after what they have done so far this postseason. In round one, they fell behind the Dallas Mavericks 0-2, but rallied to win the series. They did the same thing in the next round against the Utah Jazz and found a way to win. Can they make it 3-for-3? The Phoenix Suns took control of this Western Conference finals series by winning the first two at home, but have since dropped two of three after a 116-102 L.A. win in Phoenix on Monday night. That kept the series alive for a least another game and possibly a Game 7 on Friday. Still without, Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were propelled by Paul George, who poured in 30 second-half points en route to a career-playoff-best 41 overall. Phoenix didn’t wasn’t prepared from the onset in Game 5 when it was in position to clinch its first NBA Finals appearance since 1993. The Suns fell behind 20-5 over the first five-plus minutes and didn’t play with any urgency like they have all postseason.
The Suns split the two games at Los Angeles, falling 106-92 in Game 3 before bouncing back for an 84-80 victory two nights later. This game is currently at Pickem with a total of 215. Phoenix is 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last six on the road, but they have lost 14-of-20 in L.A. The Clippers have also covered well lately, going 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The total went Over in Games 1 and 5 and under in 2, 3 and 4.
The Suns still have two chances to put this series away and advance to the Finals, but will need to play better in Game 6. Devin Booker led the way with a team-high 31 points in Game 5 as he still plays with a face guard due to a broken nose. A good sign from Monday was the play of Chris Paul, who missed some time in COVID protocols and finished with 22 points and eight assists. Deandre Ayton was quiet on Monday, recording just 10 points, but did pull down 11 boards. Ayton averaged 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in the regular season and has upped that to 16.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in the playoffs, while shooting 70.9 percent from the field.
George not only scored 41 on Monday, but put up 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals on 15-of-20 shooting from the field. George is the first player in Clippers history to record at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a single playoff game. He got help from Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson, who combined for 45 points, while DeMarcus Cousins chipped in 15 points from the bench. Morris Sr. put up a combined 28 points in the first four games of the series and had 20 points in the first half alone. Center Ivica Zubac (knee) missed Game 5 and is questionable for Game 6. His rebounding and presence in the middle have been crucial for the Clippers, who are already missing Leonard. The Clippers are 5-1 against the spread in their last 6 home games.
I still think Phoenix is going to win this series and I’m going to stick with them here in Game 6 on the road. They were lazy out of the gate in Game 5 and that won’t be the case on Wednesday. Ayton will look to score more and that will be the difference in the game.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Suns PK