Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns – NBA, June 28, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| June 28, 2021 11:01 am PDT

The Clippers head back to Phoenix to take on the Suns in game five of the Western Conference playoff finals. LA knows another slip-up in the series will end their dreams of reaching the NBA playoff finals.

It appeared the series was going to follow the same pattern as the Clippers’ first two series in the playoffs this year when they lost the first two games and won the third. However, Phoenix soon stopped that as they snuffed out LA in the lowest-scoring game of the playoffs this year, winning. The Sun’s led from start to finish and at one point had a 16-point lead during the game. Both teams now turn their attentions to game five back in Phoenix.

The Suns’ win in LA was the first away victory for any team in this fixture for six games, proving the challenging task the Clippers have this evening. They have lost on their previous three visits to Phoenix and will need to learn quickly from their losses in games one and two.

Here is my Clippers vs. Suns betting preview.

Clippers vs. Suns Odds

Clippers +5.5-110
Suns -5.5-110
Clippers To Win+190
Suns To Win-220
Over 214.5 Points-110
Under 214.5 Points-110

After the way the series has gone so far, the bookmakers believe the Suns could put the final nail in the coffin of the Clippers as they have given them the most significant handicap lead in the tie so far. Although the Clippers are on the ropes, I wouldn’t be so quick to write them off just yet, and the five-and-a-half-point lead does look inviting.

After what could be described as the worst shooting display in playoff history, the book alerts have set the points total at its lowest point of the series. Again, it looks tempting to take this on as you cannot see these two playing as poorly as they did last time out.

Counting Out the Clippers

The Clippers have been renowned for their comebacks in this season’s playoffs, and although this is by far the biggest test they have faced, I wouldn’t be too quick to write them off. They showed plenty in game two to suggest they can win in Phoenix as they lost by a single point with less than a second left on the clock.

They could have been hard on themselves for throwing away the win, but instead, they came back fighting and put on their best display in game three as they won by the most considerable margin in the series. However, game four was simply bizarre, and it’s hard to know what to make of it.

The stats prove that the Clippers have learned from their mistakes in each series, and looking at the stats for this series, it appears they are doing so again.

They lost games one and two by being too exposed in and around the basket. The Suns scored 20 more points in the paint in game one and 30 more in game two, which was double the amount achieved by the Clippers. In game three, the Suns only scored two more points in the paint than them, and it was six points more in game four. LA knows if they can block the hole in the middle of the key, they have every chance of winning.

However, they are in unchartered waters right now as they have never been to an NBA Final, so they cannot call upon any past experiences. They have split their previous four-game five matches with two wins and two defeats and show you what a delicate balance this game hangs in.

Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:

Against The Spread

  • They have won six of their previous eight matches.
  • LA is 13-6 in their last 19 games with Phoenix.

Points Total

  • Six of their previous eight matches against teams from the Pacific Division have gone under the betting total.

Other Pointers

  • They have only won one of their last five games against the Suns.
  • The Clippers have won two-thirds of their previous 18 visits to Phoenix.

Despite their miserable field goal success rate last time out, the Clippers have shot well in the playoffs, and only the 76ers who are eliminated have shot bettered.

They have moved and worked the court around the ball incredibly well, which has meant they haven’t made any turnovers. Again, this comes from great discipline as there aren’t many better-drilled teams than LA this season.

Although they have lost two of their previous three games in the series, their defense has stood tall. As a result, the Suns have only managed scores of 104, 92, and 84. However, if their offense can show the form it did against the Jazz, posting back-to-back scores of 132, 118, 119, and 131, they stand every chance of keeping the tie alive.

It’s clear the Clippers are missing Kawhi Leonard; I mean, who wouldn’t? However, is the problem with him being on the sidelines deeper-rooted? Will we see him back for the Clippers ever again? History perhaps suggests not.

As well as Leonard, the Clippers are also missing Ibaka, who is out for the season with a back injury.

Suns Shining Bright

The Suns are on the brink of reaching their first NBA finals for almost 20 years, and you feel the only way they can lose it now would be to choke. However, seen as the Clippers have a distinct lack of experience in this department, that outcome appears highly unlikely. Phoenix has had a habit of getting over the line by any means necessary, and that couldn’t be more apparent than when they won game four.

What do all the great teams possess? What do they have in common?

They win when they’re not playing particularly well, and the Suns know how to do this. Any team can win when they’re playing well, but it takes actual guts and determination to win when you’re playing poorly.

The Suns have only lost one of their previous 11 matches, which is mightily impressive when you realize, they have played the Lakers, Nuggets, and the Clippers in those games. Furthermore, their form at home has been even more special as they have only lost two of their last 20 matches in Phoenix. This means making their third NBA final looks a distinct possibility, and they will be hoping to go one step further this year and claim that all-important maiden NBA title.

Phoenix has also won two and lost two old their previous four-game five encounters. However, they have won the last two and will be hoping to make it three in a row tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix:

Against The Spread

  • They have only lost two of their previous 11 matches.

Points Total

  • Five of their previous seven matches have gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their last six games against the Clippers has failed to go under the points total.
  • The total has gone under in six of their previous eight matches against oppositions from the Pacific Division.

The Suns need to continue plodding along, and it will be hard not to see them in the playoff finals. Their shooting has been excellent, especially from inside the paint, as previously discussed, and from the free-throw line, where they have the best record in the playoffs this season.

Their offensive rebounding has been lacking throughout the playoffs, but their defensive rebounding has been superb. I think this highlights the emphasis they have put on defense this season.

The notable difference between the two teams in this department is the Suns have worked the ball around the court much quicker.

Chris Paul has been the engine and architect behind this, and the NBA’s own Benjamin Button continues to defy the aging Gods.

Phoenix is also a disciplined team that highlights that this is such a critical area and is underestimated. Look at teams such as the Wizards, the Trail Blazers, and the Celtics. They have all the ability in the world but severely lack discipline.

The Suns have a fully fit team tonight and, therefore, can have no excuses if they fail to make the finals at this attempt.

Clippers vs. Suns Betting Pick

I don’t see much between these teams, and I believe if Kawhi Leonard were fit and playing in the series, it would probably be level right now.

I think it’s highly likely that the points total will go over tonight, but those of you that know me know I love my stats, and they suggest otherwise, so I won’t make that play. The safer play for me is to take the Clippers with the handicap. The Suns will look to suffocate the game again, but you can’t see a team that shoots as well as the Clippers do, shoot as poorly as they did last time out. They also know they have to go all out here.

  • Clippers +5.5



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