Two of the hottest teams at NBA online sportsbooks meet up tonight when the Phoenix Suns visit the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in LA in a heavyweight Western Conference showdown. The Suns are just ahead of the Clippers in the standings and both are closing in on Utah for the top seed. It will be the second meeting of the season between the two, as the Clippers prevailed the first time they met a few months back in a tight battle.
Moneyline Betting Odds
Phoenix Suns (+200)
LA Clippers (-240)
Spread Betting Odds
Phoenix Suns +6 (-110)
LA Clippers -6 (-110)
Over/Under Betting Odds
Over 221 (-110)
Under 221 (-110)
Phoenix is riding high coming into the game on a seven-game winning streak. They gutted out an overtime win over top-seed Utah last night at home to move their record to 36-14, just a game-and-a-half back of the Jazz. And their record could get much better soon, as after the one road game tonight against the Clips, they settle in for a five-game home stand against teams well below them in the standings.
The Clippers have been listless at times this season, and you never know when they’re going to throw in a clunker (as in their come-from-ahead loss to the lowly Magic last week.) But the bottom line is that they’ve won eight of their last ten contests, taking full advantage of a season-long nine-game home stand (they have two more at home after tonight before hitting the road.) They’ve upped their record to 34-18, which is good for third in the West, four-and-a-half back of the Jazz and three behind the Suns.
The Clippers have been enjoying some of their best health of the season, which has certainly helped them out in this recent stretch. Paul George has been dealing with a toe injury, but his last game against Portland was a promising sign. And now Patrick Beverly has returned, giving Tyronn Lue a defensive weapon in a game where he can’t have enough of them, as they take on Chris Paul and Devon Booker.
Los Angeles has been without Serge Ibaka for a long stretch, but they’ve played well without him. Ivica Zubac has settled nicely in the starting lineup, and Lue is comfortable playing small ball in the second unit. Against Phoenix, that’s a good fit, as Dario Saric is their second-team big guy who is also more of a finesse type than a banger.
Phoenix has no doubt assembled an excellent team this season, but health has a lot to do with their success. Their regular starting five has missed a total of eight games between them this year. They should be full-bore against the Clips tonight, with only little-used backup Abdel Nader perhaps having to sit out.
Suns Bench on The Spot
As we mentioned above, Phoenix is coming off a thrilling overtime win over Utah, one that was a physical affair and had the emotional intensity of a playoff game. It obviously is not ideal that they have to come back a night later and visit another one of the West’s best, a team that has been settled at home and enjoyed a night off following an easy win over Portland. That starting five, that we just praised for their durability, might have to fight off some fatigue in this game.
Take a look at the minutes played last night for the Suns starting five:
Devon Booker: 44 minutes
Chris Paul: 43 minutes
DeAndre Ayton: 41 minutes
Jae Crowder: 38 minutes
Mikal Bridges: 20 minutes
Bridges battled foul trouble, and besides Suns coach Monty Williams went with the hot hand of Cam Johnson in his place, as Johnson played 37 minutes and contributed 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Johnson and his fellow bench mates will likely be called it on a bit earlier and more often tonight. The Suns will likely try to ease off the throttle with their starters.
Phoenix might not have a lot of big names on their bench. But they’ve been getting solid contributions from them all year long. Maybe that’s because they haven’t been asked to do too much. After Johnson, none of the other Suns bench performers who got in the game last night (Saric, Cam Payne, Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter) played more than 12 minutes. Expect that to change tonight. One or more of these guys will have to come up big for a Phoenix road upset tonight.
No player is more scrutinized than Paul George when it comes to the Clippers. Social media often has fun at his expense when he struggles, and they’ve had a lot of material lately. George came into the game against Portland in a major shooting funk, hitting just 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from three in his previous three games.
But George was dominant in Tuesday night’s win over Portland, tearing up the Blazers to the tune of 36 points. His shooting numbers were miles beyond what he’d been doing in recent games, as he went 11 of 18 from the field and 6 of 9 from three. Portland’s weak defense can be a tonic for a lot of teams, but it was still a good sign for Clippers’ fans that he put up those numbers.
The Clipper’s ultimate goal is a championship, and that probably doesn’t happen without George at an All-Star level. Tonight will be a good test for him, as he faces off with a good defensive team above the Clips in the standings. Maybe we can call him Precedent P in this one, as he lit the Suns up for a season-high 39 points the one time they played this season in January.
Chris Paul Appreciation
Need some evidence of Chris Paul’s excellence? How about his performance last night in the win over Utah:
Paul is headed to the Hall of Fame, and his performance this year with Phoenix is helping in his quest to win that elusive NBA championship. It’s also hard to remember a time when this guy seemed like a health risk to teams. After staying healthy last year in Oklahoma City, he has missed just one game all year long for the Suns.
Now the question becomes how hard he can go tonight on his 35-year-old legs in the toughest kind of back-to-back situation. It seems like you should never bet against Paul, given how he continues to upend expectations. But you have to think the Suns might be more inclined to play him limited minutes tonight, which obviously makes them a less effective team on the whole.
What’s the Best Bet?
Phoenix has been winning people money all year long as the best team in the NBA against the spread. And they’ve been surprisingly good in adverse situations like the ones they face tonight. They’re 8-3 with a rest disadvantage and 5-0 as a road dog, both tops in the NBA in those scenarios.
But this is one case where an eye test is important. Anyone who watched that game last night between the Suns and Jazz will be able to tell you that it wasn’t your average regular season tilt. It was a rock fight, the aftereffects of which Phoenix will be feeling tonight. As a result, the rested Clippers will be able to break those trends and take advantage for the cover. Can’t get enough NBA? Check out our Bucks vs Mavericks prediction for some additional basketball betting value tonight!
Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog.
For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...
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