Suns vs. Clippers Odds, Pick & Preview: Phoenix Offense Will Pick Apart Los Angeles
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns.
- The Clippers host the Suns on Monday in a rematch of the 2021 Western Conference Finals.
- Both teams have key players whose statuses are uncertain, including Paul George and Deandre Ayton.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down the matchup and his best bet below.
Suns vs. Clippers Odds
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While some people wrote off the Suns winning the West as a fluke because of the injuries that affected other teams, they have shown this regular season that they are no fluke. In fact, this Suns team might be even better than last year’s team, with an NBA-best 21-4 record.
The Clippers have also shown that despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard, they are a legitimate playoff team thanks to their strong defense.
However, with Paul George questionable to play Monday, will they have enough firepower to get revenge on the Suns in their first meeting since the playoffs? Let’s dive into the matchup below.
Suns Winning in Many Different Ways
If the Suns win and cover as short road favorites, it will be because Chris Paul has an efficient night running the offense while players like Landry Shamet and JaVale McGee step up. Devin Booker (hamstring), Frank Kaminsky (knee) and Abdel Nader (knee) are all out on Monday while Deandre Ayton (non-COVID illness) is questionable.
The Suns have been the best team in basketball so far this season because they have the ability to win games in a variety of ways. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Suns are just one of four teams that ranks among the top eight in the NBA in both Offensive and Defensive Rating (the others are the Warriors, Bucks and Jazz).
The Suns also have been incredibly accurate shooting the basketball this season as they rank among the five best teams in shooting percentage at the rim, in the midrange and from beyond the arc. Their sophisticated pick-and-roll attack is so hard to guard because of their plethora of high-IQ players who are quality passers and shooters.
JaVale McGee is shooting a career-best 65.7%, providing nonstop efficiency on both ends of the court.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) December 12, 2021
Even with Booker and Ayton both likely out, the Suns have improved depth this season with Shamet and McGee, and if those two play well on Monday, the Suns should cover.
Clippers May Be Without George Again
The Clippers will cover and pull the upset on Monday if players like Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann and Luke Kennard lead them to an efficient night from beyond the arc while their switch-heavy defense continues to be strong. Paul George (elbow) is doubtful to play Monday while Nicolas Batum (ankle) is questionable. Kawhi Leonard (knee) remains out indefinitely.
With George and Batum likely out, the Clippers will likely be without two of their more versatile defenders who also play an important role in the offense. If George does play, keep an eye on his shooting as he is dealing with an elbow sprain to his shooting arm. Before November fourth, George made 3.9 3s per game on 42.2% accuracy. Since then, he has made just 2.2 3s per game on 27% accuracy.
REGGIE JACKSON GIVES THE CLIPPERS THE LEAD WITH 2.2 SECONDS TO PLAY! pic.twitter.com/itAX6bDFJm
— NBABet (@nbabet) December 11, 2021
Without George’s playmaking and Batum’s spacing, the Clippers need their other capable scorers like Jackson, Mann and Kennard to step up. Jackson did just that on Saturday as he hit the game-winning jumpshot in the final moments to give the Clippers a 106-104 win over the Magic.
Jackson scored a game-high 25 points while Kennard hit a career-high seven 3s to score 23 points. Mann also added 16 points as all three had efficient scoring nights, but can they keep that momentum going on Monday against the Suns as they look for their fourth straight win?
While I really like the fight in this Clippers team and how they have competed this year, especially on defense where they rank fourth in Defensive Rating, the Suns will prove to be too much for them on Monday night without George, Leonard and Batum.
The Suns’ sophisticated pick-and-roll will lead to them getting better shots on average than the Clippers’ jumpshot-heavy offense. McGee isn’t Ayton, but he has proven himself serviceable enough to anchor the Suns down low in Ayton’s absence, and this won’t be the toughest matchup for him inside against Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein. Shamet can also step up in Booker’s absence as he is shooting 40% from beyond the arc this year.
Expect Paul to be the best player on the court as the Suns’ offense picks apart the Clippers defense with their methodical approach. The Clippers will have a couple of runs in them thanks to their shotmakers like Jackson, Mann, Kennard and even the impressive rookie Brandon Boston Jr., but ultimately the Suns will pull away late and win.
Take the Suns at -2.5 on BetMGM (with value down to -3.5) for a half unit if Ayton is out, and bet this up to a unit if Ayton plays.
Pick: Suns -2.5, bet to -3.5