The Los Angeles Clippers have put themselves into some tough positions throughout the playoffs, but none tougher than the predicament they’ll be in on Monday night. Down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals and heading back to Phoenix, the Clippers will have the enviable task of staving off elimination as the Suns look to clinch a spot in the NBA Finals in front of their home fans.
And not only will they have to beat Phoenix on their home floor, but they’ll also have to do it without their best player. It is being reported that Kawhi Leonard will not be making the trip to Phoenix for Game 5. Leonard is still recovering from a strained knee that he suffered earlier in the playoffs. Many are speculating that Leonard will not play again this season. With all that in mind, let’s have a look at both teams and how they arrive into Game 5 of the series so you can keep betting against their NBA Conference Championship odds.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Phoenix Suns Game 5 Betting Preview
Clippers Shooting Woes
While Game 4 was an offensive struggle for both teams, we’re hoping to see some better shooting in Game 5. Both teams struggled from beyond the 3-point arc, but the Clippers were exceptionally bad. Coming into the playoffs as the most proficient 3-point shooting team in the league this season, Los Angeles made just five of their 31 attempts on Saturday night. If they want to continue on in the playoffs, they’ll need to shoot the ball better in Game 5.
Will Paul George Finally Come Up Clutch?
Without Leonard, the Clippers have had to rely on Paul George to supply a large chunk of their offense. George has averaged 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in these playoffs. While he has played well offensively, he has had some tough moments in clutch time, missing some big free throws in this series. If George wants to shake his reputation of being a “choker” in the playoffs, he’ll need to have some big moments going forward.
DeAndre Ayton Coming Out Party
While many experts have faulted the Suns for not taking Luka Doncic or Trae Young, DeAndre Ayton is finally showing everyone why the Suns took him with the first pick in the draft. Ayton has been a huge factor in the Suns’ playoff success this year. He has been dominant on the boards, and his offensive game has evolved under the Chris Paul-led Suns. If Ayton continues to play well, it will be hard to stop the Suns.
Who Will Win Game 5?
The Clippers are familiar with having their backs against the wall. This is the third consecutive series that they have started off being down 0-2. They know that their playoff lives are on the line, and if they lose, they’ll go home for the season. We anticipate them going with a smaller lineup in this game. When Ivica Zubac was playing in Game 4, the Suns found ways to exploit his on-ball defense. We see Tyronn Lue trying to limit his time in this one.
As for the Suns, this game will be huge for Chris Paul. Paul will be remembered as one of the great point guards in league history, but he’s never made it to the NBA Finals. If he wants to further his legacy, he’ll need to lead his squad to the Finals. The Suns will be fired up to clinch a title series berth in front of their home crowd, but they’ll need to be able to handle their emotions.
We think that this is the game where the Suns will end the series. Phoenix will win Game 5 and head to their first NBA Finals since 1993.