The Clippers are getting healthier, and not coincidentally, getting back in the win column. They’ll have the rest advantage against the nouveau riche Western Conference contender Phoenix Suns. Will it be enough? Read on for the full Clippers vs Suns game preview:
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
When: 7:00 PM PT
How to Watch: TNT, AM 570 KLAC
Suns: Chris Paul — Devin Booker — Mikal Bridges — Jae Crowder — Deandre Ayton
Clippers: Patrick Beverley — Paul George — Kawhi Leonard — Marcus Morris Sr. — Ivica Zubac
Suns: OUT — Abdel Nader (knee)
Clippers: (OUT) — Serge Ibaka (back)
The Big Picture
. . . is coming back together, slowly but surely.
Rajon Rondo made his Clipper debut on Sunday against the Lakers. DeMarcus Cousins made his own on Tuesday alongside Pat Beverley’s return. Unfortunately, Serge Ibaka will miss tonight’s contest, but the Clippers are quickly returning to something resembling full strength.
With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George submitting star performances against Portland, George’s being particularly uplifting after his apparent foot-related burst struggles in prior games, the team can look again to making forward — or upward, relative to the standings — progress, rather than merely treading water. Taking the win tonight against the team on the rung above theirs would qualify as such.
. . . is the upstart, the new tenant in the penthouse. The Phoenix Suns are holding a spot into which most penciled the Clippers or the Lakers. This is a statement schedule sequence for them, having just won against the top-seeded Utah Jazz last night but needing extra basketball to do it.
Facing two contenders sandwiching you in the standings on consecutive nights is a big ask. The Suns, largely, are young, and may be benefiting from a condensed schedule in which creakier teams are suffering. But, crucially, one Sun is not. Chris Paul drives the car, and he is the player most responsible for their lofty digs. Suppressing Devin Booker is never easy, as his bubble-buzzer-beater last August will attest, but it’s more manageable when The Point God is feeling extra wear and having to pick his spots.
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