The Los Angeles Clippers have their backs against the wall when visiting the Phoenix Suns in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals on Monday.
Saturday’s 84-80 loss to the Suns proved costly for the Clippers as the series heads back to Phoenix with the Suns holding a commanding 3-1 lead.
Having lost just nine games at home throughout the regular season, it’s hard to see the Suns losing consecutive games. However, this is the NBA where amazing happens.
The online sportsbook has the Suns as favorites to close out the series on Monday and head to the NBA Finals.
It Wasn’t Pretty
Game Four wasn’t one for the ages, but the Phoenix Suns did enough to secure the four-point victory and pull one game closer to the Finals.
Devin Booker rebounded with a 25-point performance on 8-of-22 shooting and he was joined by Deandre Ayton (19) and Chris Paul (18). It was a dour shooting night, with the Suns shooting 36 percent overall and 20 percent from the three-point line.
However, the Suns limited the Clippers to just 32.5 percent shooting and 16.1 percent from the three, so it was a stout defensive effort.
“That was a slugfest,” Suns coach Monty Williams told ESPN. “It wasn’t Offense 101, for sure.
“At that point, you’re just relying on your defense and mental stamina.”
PHOENIX WINS GAME 4!
THE SUNS ARE ONE WIN AWAY FROM THE FINALS 😱 pic.twitter.com/e6UKlrfA8j
— ESPN (@espn) June 27, 2021
Shooting poorly and still coming away with a win is a positive for the Suns. They are a high-powered offensive team, so they don’t need to worry about recapturing their best form.
They have now scored declining totals of 120, 104, 92 and 84 points in the series. However, the defense has stood up and that’s what often wins playoff games.
Clippers Lacking Punch
Not having Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been easy for the Los Angeles Clippers. That was evident in Game Four and scoring 80 points isn’t going to get it done.
Despite a horrendous shooting night, they had a chance to steal the game late but they failed to pull off the comeback. Paul George had 23 points on 1-of-9 from the three and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points.
Going 5 of 31 from the three is a concern and the Clippers also missed 11 free throws, which has plagued this team. George went 12 of 18 at the stripe.
— Justin Adams (@justinadamsTV) June 27, 2021
“It was tough because we fought all the way to get it to a one-point game, and we had looks that we normally make all season and they weren’t falling,” Clippers guard Terance Mann said. “The game could have easily went a whole different way if we were hitting those shots.”
NBA betting markets have the Clippers at +185 to extend the series. There isn’t a lot of faith in this unit to get the job done in Phoenix, but they’ll need to win three consecutive games, including two on the road, to win this series.
Given their history of losing big playoff games, it could be a struggle on Monday. The status of Leonard is unknown, but even if he does return, it doesn’t mean automatic offense for the Clippers.
It would help them defensively, however, so expect the betting line to move depending on his availability.
Clippers vs Suns Betting Trends
Despite losing three games this series, the Clippers are 17-6 against the spread in the last 23 meetings. However, they are 1-4 ATS in the last five games as a road underdog.
They are 5-1 ATS in their last six Monday games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a loss.
The best betting trend for the Clippers is being 4-1 in their last five games as an underdog. They played well with lower expectations and they’re not expected to win Game Five.
Phoenix is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games following an ATS win. It’s also 5-1 ATS in the last six games as a home favorite and 9-2 from the last 11 overall.
There are no negative betting trends for the Suns, who are also 6-2 ATS in their last eight games playing on one day of rest.
The over is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in Phoenix and the under is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
Clippers vs Suns Pick
We expect the Phoenix Suns to make the NBA Finals and wrap up the series in five games.
Despite the offense trending in the wrong direction, they have stepped up defensively and that’s a good sign.
It won’t take long for point guard Paul to have an effect on the offense and his ability to control the pace of the game can be the difference.
Bettors get a fair line at 5½ points, which is well worth taking.