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Clippers Open as +165 Underdogs vs Suns in 2021 Western Conference Finals Series Odds

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Jun 19, 2021 · 6:21 AM PDT

Paul George holding ball at halfcourt
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) during game 6 of the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers on June 18, 2021, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
  • After knocking off the West’s top seed, the LA Clippers now sqaure off with the Phoenix Suns
  • Phoenix swept the Denver Nuggets in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs
  • Read below for opening series odds analysis and a prediction on if the line will move or not before Game 1

The Los Angeles Clippers are in rareified air.

Without their superstar Kawhi Leonard, LA played two of their best games of the season to send the top-seeded Utah Jazz packing and advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history

But they’ll need to shake the euphoria and get down to business, as they enter the NBA Playoff final four as underdogs against the powerhouse Phoenix Suns, who’ve been waiting idly after sweeping the Nuggets in Round 2.

Clippers vs Suns Opening Series Odds

Team Odds at PointsBet
Los Angeles Clippers +165
Phoenix Suns -200

Odds as of June 19th.

Game 1 is set for Sunday, 3:30pm ET. Let’s break down this series and how you should be angling your wager.

New-Look Clips

We still don’t know Kawhi Leonard’s status for the rest of the playoffs since injuring his knee in the late stages of Game 4 against the Jazz. But what we know now is this team isn’t a one-trick pony.

Paul George shook the playoff failures of seasons past with a 37-point, 16-rebound, 5-assist to gem in the ultra-important Game 5 win, while going for 28 points, nine rebounds and seven dimes in the clincher.

He was buoyed by the emergence of youngster Terance Mann, who erupted for a career-high 39 points on 15-for-21 shooting in Game 6.

Reggie Jackson, plugged into the starting lineup to shake things up in the Dallas series, has been dynamite since. He finished with 27 points and 10 assists on 10-for-16 shooting to close out Utah.

If George stays hot and continues to get primo support, LA will have a fighting chance — not something anyone would have imagined without Leonard — or Serge Ibaka, who’s been shut down for the playoffs with a back ailment.

Paul Injury Dims Suns Outlook

While Leonard’s status is in limbo, the Phoenix Suns won’t know exactly when star point guard Chris Paul will be available after contracting COVID-19.

That’s a massive loss, especially considering we’d seen peak Paul in a demolition of the Nuggets in a sweep. He averaged 25.5 points for the series, including a 37-point bomb in the clincher. He also doled out 41 assists in the series against just five turnovers.

But the Suns are still solid across the board, and Devin Booker will handle primary ball-handling duties and still be their top offesnive threat.  Cam Payne, who’s been a stellar reserve these playoffs, should provide ball-handling and scoring, albeit down a level from Paul.

How They Match Up

The Clippers boast the second-best offensive rating in these playoffs, but the Suns counter with the second-best defensive rating. But Phoenix isn’t offensively challenged. They bend defenses with great motion and ball movement — their 24.7 assists per game is tops of any team still standing.

Pheonix has held their opponents to 100.8 points per game in their 10 starts, while limiting teams to 32.1% shooting from the three. How the Clips do there may determine the outcome of the series, as they’ve shot 39.1% on better than 36 attempts a game.

It will be interesting to see if LA’s small-ball lineups can neutralize Pheonix big man Deandre Ayton and turn him into a liability like they did with Rudy Gobert. Ayton is averaging 15.2 points and 10.6 boards on an incredible 71.6% from the field.

Early Analysis

It’s ftting that LA starts as the underdog — they’ve fallen behind 2-0 in each of their first two series before rallying back.

There’s a chance these odds could move prior to Game 1, but it’s likely the status of Leonard and Paul won’t be revealed until late Saturday.

Don’t expect LA’s odds to shorten too much, even if Leonard is announced a go for Game 1 — there still has to be lingering doubt as to how effective the 2019 Finals MVP be with a compromised knee.

Phoenix has shown itself to be a more complete team and should be able to hold the fort till Paul returns, making them the current best bet to take this series, at least before the games are played.

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