Game: Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Clippers +11.5, Suns -11.5
It’s been a tough go for the Los Angeles Clippers lately. They have not beaten a team with a winning record since Dec. 13 and now they must face the 29-8 Phoenix Suns. The Clippers continue to be without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jason Preston who are all out with injuries. Then, you add in the absences of Ivica Zubac and Luke Kennard and you may wonder how the Clippers can beat anyone.
The Clippers will play shorthanded again tonight as they did on Monday night in a 122-104 loss to Minnesota. LA has managed to put together some decent offensive performances with their depleted lineup. They even beat Brooklyn 120-116 on New Year’s Day.
The Suns have won their first two games of the New Year beating Charlotte and New Orleans. Phoenix averaged 128 points in those two games and they have been lighting it up from the field. They shot 49.2 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from behind the three-point arc. Devin Booker is averaging 29.4 points per game over his last five appearances. He had 33 on Tuesday night in the win over New Orleans.
Phoenix has won seven of its last ten games despite being down two starters. The Suns have received quality minutes from Bismack Biyombo, who was signed to a 10-day contract and is averaging 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Suns who will be without Jae Crowder, JaVale McGee, Deandre Ayton, Landry Shamet, and Abdel Nader tonight. Jalen Smith is listed as probable as he returns from health and safety protocols.
While the Suns rank No. 3 in scoring offense, they are also very good defensively. Phoenix gives up 104.9 points per game, which is fifth in the NBA. They rank No. 2 in opponent three-point field goal percentage and No. 3 in overall opponent field goal percentage. The Clippers are also one of the better defensive teams in the league. They rank seventh in points allowed per game (105.7).
The Clippers’ issues are on offense where they rank 24th in scoring (105.5 ppg). With more than half of their leading scorers out, it’s hard to see how LA can keep up with Phoenix. The Clips have scored more than 105 points just once in their last ten games.
The Suns have been in the habit of winning games and winning big. In their last seven victories, they have won by at least 13 points. They are 3-1 ATS in their last four games and have won 15 of their past 20. Phoenix is 16-4 at home this season.
Ironically, the last time the Clippers beat a team with a winning record it was against Phoenix. The Clips won 111-95 at home on Dec. 13. That game went Under the total, but four of the Clippers’ last five have gone Over. The total has gone Over in eight of the last 11 Suns games.