Phoenix will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, August 4, as the Suns try to sneak into the playoffs, and L.A. seeks to improve their seeding. It’s the third game since the NBA restart for both teams.
The Phoenix Suns are currently the 13th seed in the Western Conference with a record 28-39. The Suns are doing exceptionally well in Orlando as they won both of the previous games against the Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks. In both games, Devin Booker led the team in scoring. After being down by 13 points at halftime against the Mavericks, Phoenix came back and won 115-117.
Although they had a promising start to this season before the hiatus, Phoenix did not reach their expectations. Booker and Deandre Ayton were not enough to win games, and the team lost one of their key players, Aron Baynes. Before the season restarted, it seemed impossible for the Suns to be a playoff contender or even make it to the play-in series. However, they won their first two games in Orlando and are hoping for better results.
Devin Booker has been an offensive machine since he joined the league. He can shoot, drive, outrun his defenders, and create space to score. He made his first All-star appearance this season, and he seems to be improving his game every year. Along with Booker, Deandre Ayton has developed as well, especially in the defensive end. He scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Suns’ win against the Wizards on Friday, July 31.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers fell short to the Lakers in the first of the NBA return. Although Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scored 28 points and 30 points, they could not beat their L.A. rivals and Anthony Davis, who had 34 points. The Clippers did not have crucial bench members like Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell, so it was hard for them to score when two vital role players sat out.
Despite the loss against the Lakers, the Clippers came back and beat the New Orleans Pelicans by 23 points and made a franchise-record 25 3-pointers in the game. They were up 77-45 at halftime, and 16 of the 3-pointers came in the first half. Paul George led the team with 28 points, shooting 8-for-11 from deep. Kawhi Leonard and Reggie Jackson also scored double-digits.
Dark Horse – Dario Saric and Ricky Rubio
Two players tested positive for coronavirus before they arrived in Orlando, and Phoenix also lost a crucial member, Kelly Oubre Jr., due to a torn meniscus in February. Despite the absences, Dario Saric and Ricky Rubio have been playing exceptionally well for the Suns. They both scored in double-digits in both of the games in Orlando. The emergence helped Booker from having to score every point and eased the pressures to carry their offense. Phoenix is on the right track and might be able to make the play-in series.
Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell Still Absent
Lou Williams had to be quarantined after he was seen at a strip club in Atlanta. He claimed that he was only picking up some food, but one of the dancers in the club told the Los Angeles Times that she was one of the many dancers who performed for him. His mandatory quarantine has been extended to 10 days and will not be playing against the Suns. Harrell will also miss the game due to the death of his grandmother.
Although the Suns are playing great basketball, the Clippers will beat them on Tuesday. The Clippers have shown great offense and defense during the two games without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Even though they had 20 turnovers against the Lakers, they only lost by 2 points. It will be hard for the Suns to guard the two superstars and go through the Clipper’s tough defense.