The LA Clippers look to stay alive in the 2021 playoffs when they travel to the Phoenix Suns Arena and visit the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the 2021 Western Conference Finals on Monday night.
Phoenix leads the Series 3-1 and will be looking to advance to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993 with a win on Monday. They are currently 6.5 point favorites as the Clippers will still be without Kawhi Leonard who didn’t travel with the team to Phoenix for Game 5.
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles won Game 4 against Dallas and Utah to even those series but now find themselves down 3-1 after missing out on a golden opportunity to win Game 4. The Clippers had too many chances to even the series but they were unable to make baskets down the stretch and also missed too many foul shots in the game.
Without Leonard, much of the offensive burden has fallen on the shoulder of Paul George who is having a terrific statistical postseason but hasn’t been as efficient as Leonard would have been. PG13 is averaging 27.5 points per game against the Suns but is shooting just 35.4% from the field and 24.4% from behind the arc. Worse, George missed two key free throws in Game 2 and missed six in Game 4 which they lost by just four points.
Reggie Jackson has been impressive in the series, scoring at least 19 points in each of the four games played so far, including 23 in their Game 3 win. But now the Clippers must do what only three teams have done before- rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a Conference Finals.
Odds from BetOnline as of 06/28/2021
The Phoenix Suns are one win away from appearing in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. The Suns had not made the postseason in 10 consecutive years but after a breakout bubble performance last season, they have emerged as serious title contenders. If the Suns do advance, it will also mark the first time in Chris Paul’s career where he will be playing in the NBA Finals.
Paul has been the architect of the rise of Phoenix. His leadership and playoff experience have brought out the best in his teammates. CP3 was having a spectacular second round but after he was sidelined with COVID-19, he has struggled to regain the old form. But with Paul struggling and Devin Booker hounded by Patrick Beverley, Deandre Ayton has emerged as the force that has been the difference in this series.
Ayton is averaging 20.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in this series. His tip-in shot in Game 2 gave the Suns the last-second victory while his 19 points and 22 rebounds effort in Game 4 propelled the Suns to a 3-1 series lead. Unless the Clippers can slow down Ayton, you can book the Suns’ ticket to the NBA Finals.
The Clippers are 5-5 SU in their last 10 games played. Los Angeles is 1-4 SU in their last five games played on the road. The Suns are 10-1 SU in their last 11 games played. Phoenix is 5-0 SU in their last five games played at home. Head to head, the Suns are 4-1 SU in their last five games played against the Clippers.
After a decisive Game 3 win, the Clippers and Suns played in a defensive Game 4. Once again, the Clippers had their chances to win that game but they were 0-12 in shots where they could’ve tied the game or taken the lead in the 4th quarter. Los Angeles also missed a total of 11 free throws in a game which they lost by just four points.
Meanwhile, the Suns struggled to close out the Clippers despite having a full lineup and Los Angeles missing Kawhi Leonard for the 4th straight game in this series. Patrick Beverley continues to do a great job on Devin Booker but somehow, D-Book finds a way to score when needed.
Deandre Ayton has silently taken over the series and unless the Clippers can find a way to neutralize him, he’s going to be the key to winning this game again. Give props to the Clippers for giving the Suns a good fight in their two losses. This one could be just as close and could sting as much.
I expect the Clippers to come out firing with their season on the line. But without Kawhi Leonard, they simply have no answer for the Suns. Phoenix simply has too many weapons and with Ayton going loose in this series, the Suns should close out this Western Conference Finals at home.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns
Other Bets to Make
The Clippers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games played. Los Angeles is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Western Conference, 5-1 ATS in their last six Monday games, 4-1 ATS in their last five games after an ATS loss, 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games against an opponent with a winning home record, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games when playing on one-day rest.
Phoenix is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games played. The Suns are 5-0 ATS in their last five games played at home, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after an ATS win, 5-1 ATS in their last six games as home favorites, 4-1 ATS in their last five Conference Finals games, and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 home games against an opponent with a winning road record.
Head to head, these teams have split their last 10 meetings against the spread but the Suns have covered in two out of their last three meetings.
Odds from BetOnline as of 06/28/2021
Phoenix has been cruising in the current postseason, posting an 11-3 record and an average winning margin of 7.1 points per game. The Suns are also 27-9 SU at home this season and have beaten their opponents by an average of 9 points per game.
The Clippers meanwhile have battled back from a pair of 2-0 deficits in the first two rounds. They had a chance to do that again in Game 4 but they couldn’t make baskets. The difference? Kawhi Leonard. Leonard played in their Game 4 against the Mavs and Jazz. Without their best player in Leonard last time out, they just came up short. They will come up short again here.
The Suns are 36-12 ATS in 38 home games played this season. Give me the Suns to clinch the series and cover the spread.
Prediction: Suns –5.5
The total has gone under in five out of the Clippers’ last six games against an opponent with a winning straight up record. The under is 10-3-1 in their last 14 Monday games, 13-5 in their last 18 games after a straight up loss, 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games after an ATS defeat, and 31-15 in their last 46 games as road underdogs.
The Suns have seen the total go under in five out of their last seven games played. The under is 5-2 in their last seven games played on June, 6-2 in their last eight games against the Pacific Division, 5-2 in their last seven games as home favorites, 5-1 in their last six Conference Finals games, and 5-2-1 in their last eight games played at home.
Head to head, the under is 5-1 in their last six meetings.
Odds from BetOnline as of 06/28/2021
After these teams combined to score 234 points in Game 1, this series has become a defensive battle. They combined for 207, 198, and 164 points in the last three games of the series. I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of the 84-80 score in Game 4 as both teams are offensively better than that total. However, with Kawhi out, and the Clippers have really struggled to make baskets.
Both teams are excellent three-point shooting squads and could light up at any given game. But with the Suns having the Clippers where they want them to be, they don’t need to score too many points to win this game and close out the series.
Prediction: Under 214.5