The Phoenix Suns will host the LA Clippers in the first game of the 2021 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. Both teams have surmounted incredible opposition to get to this stage.
The LA Clippers had a more intriguing run in the earlier rounds. In both series, they had to crawl back from 2-0 deficits to overcome their opponents. They are one of the 29 teams that have come back from a 2-0 deficit to win in the 432 playoff series.
The young Chris Paul-led Phoenix Suns put on a show against the LA Lakers in the first round and swept Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the semifinals. Although the Suns will have to face the LA Clippers without Paul due to Covid-19 regulations, they have to find a way to recreate those performances.
Five players who need to rise to the occasion for the Phoenix Suns against the LA Clippers in Chris Paul’s absence
The LA Clippers have reached the finals for the first time in their 50-year franchise history and will leave nothing to chance. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have several playoff debutants who will be eager to make a name for themselves.
As we anticipate tip-off, here are five Phoenix Suns players that need to dominate in the absence of Chris Paul.
#5 Torrey Craig
Torrey Craig is a like-for-like swap for Mikal Bridges. That means he needs to keep up the intensity for the Phoenix Suns when given his chance. Going against the LA Clippers will mean the Suns need to produce from downtown against one of the deadliest three-point shooting teams.
The Phoenix Suns’ three-point shooting has been average at best despite their ability to create open looks. Craig is nine of 21 from beyond the arc so far in the playoffs. With Paul’s absence, he will likely get more minutes, which means that he will be in a position to hurt the LA Clippers, and he has to deliver.
#4 Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder is called The Beast for a reason. He is a defensive juggernaut and recorded success defending LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the first round. In the second round, against the Nuggets, his three-point shooting improved as he converted 12 of his 21 attempts in the series.
Facing the LA Clippers will be a more tasking endeavor, which is why Crowder will need to be a leader. With Chris Paul’s absence, he will be the oldest on the court for the Phoenix Suns.
Crowder will also be the player with the most NBA playoff experience as he was part of the Miami Heat team that faced off against the Lakers in the Orlando bubble. NBA playoff appearances in the past, and if the Suns hope to defeat the LA Clippers in this series, Jae Crowder will have to step up and lead.