The Los Angeles Clippers will make the short trip to Phoenix on Thursday to take on the Suns in a Western Conference matchup.
After grabbing a win against Sacramento on Tuesday the Suns own a 32-27 record, good enough for the No. 4 seed in the West. The Clippers find themselves not too far behind, also coming into this matchup off a win and with a 32-28 record. Both teams are contenders and every game is the west is huge because of the competitiveness of the conference.
Los Angeles Clippers went 3-3 in February. LA's last game against the Warriors was a huge win. We saw the Clippers shoot 47% from behind the arc and 53% overall in that matchup. This is a sign this offense may be clicking and finding its groove.
Los Angeles's inability to climb up the Western Conference standings was due to its defensive play, which a team with Kawhi Leonard or Paul George usually does not have.
The Clippers' 117.3 Defensive ratings has been posted since January 1st. This is more than a 7.0-point increase over the Defensive Rating that was 110.0 in 38 previous games.
The Clippers have allowed their opponents to shoot 40% from behind the arc. LA must improve its defensive game if it hopes to remain competitive in this one.
The Phoenix Suns made what is arguably the most significant move of the year by trading Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cam Johnson to Brooklyn in exchange for Kevin Durant.
Although Durant remains sidelined with a knee injury, there were questions about Phoenix's performance in the short-term. However, the Suns have had key players return to their lineup.
Devin Booker, who suffered a groin injury in February, has returned to the court and the Suns have been playing great basketball since then. Phoenix is now 3-0 after Booker's return. He is averaging 24.0 points per game and shooting 49% in just 26 minutes.
Phoenix's defensive end has been the most impressive area of the floor. NBA.com reports that the Suns have held opponents to 45% overall shooting and only 32.8% from behind the arc since Booker's return. Phoenix has a 109.2 defensive rating during that period.
The Suns might have suffered some loss in perimeter offense and defense with the Durant trade. However, Booker has returned to health and this team is ready to compete for the Western Conference title.
The Suns won 111-96 the last time these two teams met, the game was in Los Angeles. The Suns have won both meetings easily this season.
Zubic - LAC
The Clippers have compensated for their lackluster defensive production by playing great on the offensive end, but I believe the Suns' defense can get the job done and allow Phoenix to keep the game close.
Los Angeles has been struggling defensively all season as a road team. NBA.com lists the Clippers with a 115.6 defensive rating when they are on the road. This matchup will feature Norman Powell, making it much harder to compensate for the decrease in offensive production. TeamRankings also shows that the Clippers have a 16-18 record against the spread against Western Conference rivals. The Suns are 21-14 against the West.
I'll take the best defensive team in this one, and back Phoenix.
With the over under in this game at 224, I look at the last two games and see that they were under that 224 number. Nine of the Clippers last twelve games in the Western Conference have went under. Take the under!
Clippers vs Suns How to Watch 🏀
📅 Date: Thursday, February, 16
🕚 Game Time: 10:00 pm
📺 How to Watch: TNT
🏀 Venue: Footprint center, Phoenix,AZ
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.