The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for the third clash of the season between West heavyweights Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers.
12:00 (AEST), Thu 29th Apr @ Phoenix Suns Arena
History: Played 233: Suns 136 V Clippers 97
Last meeting: April 8, 2021: Clippers 113 d Suns 103 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: Second hosts third in this Western Conference blockbuster. Pacific Division rivals Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers are separated by just two wins.
The 43-18 Suns are coming off a tough five-game roadstand, taking on the best of the East. They edged the Bucks and 76ers, before losing to the Celtics and Nets. But the Suns headed home on the back of a 118-110 victory over the streaking Knicks.
Devin Booker starred with 33 points (after dropping 36 on the Nets), while the mercurial Chris Paul (20 pts, 6 ast) was typically influential.
The 43-20 Clippers have won 11 of their last 13 games – despite Kawhi Leonard playing in just one of their last nine.
But they were humbled 120-103 by the Pelicans in their last outing, just the fifth time this season they have conceded 120 points in a loss. The performance of DeMarcus Cousins (16 pts, 11 reb) off the bench was a rare positive.
Leonard is doubtful for a return in Phoenix.
The Clippers’ hopes rest on George’s ability to step up in Kawhi’s absence. He has 32-plus points in five of his last seven games but had just nine points in 25 minutes on the court in New Orleans.
Clippers dominate Pacific Division rivalry
The Clippers have won 16 of their last 18 against the Suns, including both encounters so far this season.
Paul George (39 points) starred in a 112-107 victory in Phoenix in January and was equally influential in a 113-103 home win earlier this month with 33 points (including 7-of-9 three-point attempts) and 7 rebounds.
The Suns are 23-9 at home this season (20-12 against the start) and have won 10 of their last 11 in Phoenix. The Clippers are 19-12 on the road (16-14-1 ATS).
With Leonard unlikely, the Suns are difficult to back against at home with Booker and CP3 in great touch.
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