NBA Playoffs: Mims previews the Western Conference Finals – Clippers vs Suns with/without Kawhi, Chris Paul
The Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers will meet for the right to go to the NBA Finals. The Suns are -184 to win the series while the Clippers are +152.
Players to watch in this series. Kawhi Leonard & Chris Paul. Both are the best players are their respective teams. Both are out for Game 1 and no date has been given for their return. Paul is out for COVID-19 related issues. He will make an appearance in this series. Leonard has a knee injury and is uncertain. They cancel each other out if neither plays in a game.
Devin Booker and Paul George take center stage in this series. Booker improved his scoring in the playoffs. George has scored 28 or more in 4 consecutive games as the Clippers closed out the Utah Jazz. This matchup is even.
Coaches: Monty Williams and Tyronn Lue. Lue has won a championship as a player and coach. He makes good in game adjustments. Williams was a runner up for NBA Coach of the Year. Williams has less to work with than Lue but has gotten more out of his team. Even.
The Suns without Chris Paul are the team that got hot in the bubble but did not make the playoffs last year. The Clippers without Leonard can still find a way to win. Terance Mann dropped 39 in the close out game on Friday. Reggie Jackson has stepped up in a big way during this playoff run. The Suns counter with Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton. Suns play good defense while the Clippers shoot exceptional from 3-point range. The bench for the Clippers has Rajon Rondo, Luke Kennard, Patrick Beverley and DeMarcus Cousins. That is an advantage over Dario Saric, Torrey Craig, and Cameron Johnson. I am expecting Cameron Payne to start so that gives the bench advantage to the Clippers.
Prop Bets: Look for prop bets involving Reggie Jackson and Mikal Bridges to go over their scoring projections in the first two games of the series. Booker will be the top scorer in the series. George will average over 8 rebounds per game. Ayton steps up with a double-double in Game 1. The starters will play more in this series so their numbers will increase.
The Pick: Clippers can manage better without Kawhi than Suns can without Paul. Clippers steal a game in Phoenix and win this series in 6.
Game One: Take the game under 221. Clippers will be hard pressed to duplicate the shooting of game 6 against the Jazz. Suns coming off a week of rest so defense will take precedent. Suns held Nuggets and Lakers under 103 points in 6 of their 10 games.
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