With the two biggest names missing from Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, we weren’t really sure what to expect. With Chris Paul out for Phoenix due to COVID issues, and Kawhi Leonard unavailable for the Los Angeles Clippers with ACL issues, each team’s leader wasn’t on the floor. However, Devin Booker and Paul George both stepped up for their teams and put on a show. Let’s take a closer look at both teams and how they arrive into Game 2 of the series so you can keep betting against their NBA Conference Championship odds.
NBA Western Conference Finals: Phoenix Suns vs. LA Clippers Game 2 Betting Preview
With Booker recording a triple-double with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists, the Phoenix Suns outlasted George and the Clippers, 120-114 to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series for a berth in the NBA Finals. Booker was huge in the clutch, as he scored or assisted on 43 of the Suns’ final 50 points.
Booker wasn’t the only Suns player who played well. Deandre Ayton also had a big game. The former first overall selection in the NBA Draft scored 20 points along with grabbing nine boards in a winning effort. Mikal Bridges chipped in with 14 points, while Jae Crowder added 13.
George did all that he could to help the Clippers, as he put up 34 points. Reggie Jackson also came up big for the Clippers, as he scored 24 points in a losing effort. The Clippers just couldn’t find a way to stop Devin Booker, and that ultimately led to their demise in Game 1.
Since falling behind 2-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, the Suns have reeled off eight straight wins. The Suns will be looking for their first-ever NBA title and their first appearance in the finals since Charles Barkley led them to the 1993 Finals. They have all of the momentum going into Game 2.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Game 2 is if we’ll see Chris Paul. Paul was put into the NBA’s COVID protocol last week after the Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. There has been no timetable released on when we’ll see Paul again, but when he does return, it will be a huge boost for the already red-hot Suns.
As for Leonard, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to play anytime soon. After leaving Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals with a knee injury, Leonard has yet to return to action. Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has stated that he is preparing as though Leonard won’t be ready to play in Game 2.
In Game 1, Lue used his bench more frequently than he had in the past few games. The Clippers had solid contributions from Ivica Zubac, Rajon Rondo, and DeMarcus Cousins. Without Leonard, the Clippers will need to find other sources of offense.
Game 2 should be a good one! The Clippers can’t afford to go down 2-0. If Chris Paul is able to play, it will put even more pressure on Los Angeles to sneak out of Phoenix tied at one game apiece. Even if Paul doesn’t play, the Clippers will need to do a better job of slowing Devin Booker down because if he has another great game, it will be nearly impossible for the Clippers to win.