The LA Clippers will get the chance to nullify a 0-2 deficit for the third time in the 2021 NBA Playoffs when they host the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night. Tyronn Lue’s men made solid adjustments to bounce back in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals and will now look to level the series.
The Phoenix Suns finally saw the return of Chris Paul on Thursday night. While the Point God brought his elite playmaking skills to the table, he left his shooting boots at home. Even Devin Booker – who was forced to wear a face mask due to a nose injury – struggled to score. The duo combined for 10-of-40 from the field.
Paul George was able to vindicate himself in Game 3 after missing two crucial free throws in the prior matchup. George racked up 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to lead the LA Clippers to victory. Credit should go out to Patrick Beverley and Terance Mann as well, who played great defense throughout the game.
Phoenix Suns Injury Report
Backup point guard Cameron Payne suffered a left ankle sprain in the first half of Game 3 and could not continue further. He’s listed as probable for tonight. Abdel Nader has received clearance to return to action following the arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in April. He’s listed as questionable for the time being.
LA Clippers Injury Report
Kawhi Leonard is set to miss a fifth straight matchup due to a right knee sprain he suffered during Game 4 against the Utah Jazz. Leonard is listed as out for tonight’s fixture against the Phoenix Suns and there’s still no timetable for his return. Serge Ibaka also remains sidelined after undergoing back surgery.
Marcus Morris Sr. didn’t feature in the injury report, but he’s playing through a sore left knee which forced him to come off the bench in Game 3. Morris is a game-time decision for tonight.
Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers: Predicted Lineups
Both Chris Paul and Devin Booker played roughly 40 minutes in Game 3 so the duo should be fit enough to be on the court for the majority of the matchup. Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton will complete the starting lineup.
Cameron Payne should get more playing time tonight compared to the four minutes he was restricted to on Thursday. Forwards Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig will also play a vital role off the bench with their 3-and-D ability. Dario Saric will be the go-to stretch five to counter the LA Clippers’ small lineup.
Patrick Beverley featured in the starting lineup for a second straight game and should be able to retain his spot following the defense he played on Devin Booker. Reggie Jackson should slot in as the shooting guard. The frontcourt will comprise of Paul George, Terance Mann and Ivica Zubac.
Marcus Morris Sr. is likely to come off the bench again. Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum will also get respectable playing time. The same can’t be said about Rajon Rondo, who hasn’t contributed much lately.
Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard – Chris Paul l Shooting Guard – Devin Booker l Small Forward – Mikal Bridges l Power Forward – Jae Crowder l Center – Deandre Ayton
Point Guard – Patrick Beverley l Shooting Guard – Reggie Jackson l Small Forward – Paul George l Power Forward – Terance Mann l Center – Ivica Zubac
Also read: Phoenix Suns vs LA Clippers Prediction & Match Preview – June 26th, 2021 | Game 4, 2021 NBA Playoffs