Can the Suns Ride Momentum in Game Three?
CAN THE SUNS RIDE MOMENTUM IN GAME THREE - Welcome back basketball fans to our playoff coverage here at Godzilla Wins. Today, our featured game is Game 3 between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers.
So, without delay, let’s look at how we got here and which team has the edge going into Game 3.
When: Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 10:30 PM ET
Where: Crypot.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
Public Bets: Suns, 68%
Public Money: Suns, 82%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of April 19th, 2023
How We Got Here
After acquiring Kevin Durant via a midseason trade with the Brooklyn Nets, the Phoenix Suns became one of the prohibitive favorites to win the title. But someone forgot to pass the memo along to the Los Angeles Clippers.
In the series opener, the Clippers jumped out to an early 12-point advantage, but the teams battled to an 81-81 tie going into the final frame. The see-saw battle continued in the final 12 minutes before the Clippers came away with a 115-110 win, stealing the home-court advantage from the Suns.
The two notable players from Game 1 were Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook. Leonard, a two-time Finals MVP, scored 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting.
Two of his three 3-point field goals came within 40 seconds of each other in the game’s final minutes. Leonard also tallied five rebounds and five assists.
As far as Westbrook goes? Well, he finished with nine points. He also shot an abysmal 3-for-19 from the floor and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. So why on earth would I pick him in terms of a noteworthy performance?
It is because of the rest of his final stat line that warrants attention. Westbrook also collected 10 rebounds, handed out eight assists, recorded two steals, and three blocks, including this one against Devin Booker to help seal the win for the Clippers.
The Suns suffered their first loss with Durant in the lineup as they were 8-0 coming into this contest. The Suns knew they had to win Game 2 to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole, and they certainly did that.
Devin Booker was more than willing to lead the way in the next one. He scorched the Clippers for 38 points on an efficient 14-for-22 effort from the floor and he connected on four of his seven attempts from 3-point range.
Kevin Durant chipped in with 25 points, six rebounds, and five assists. And Chris Paul deserves some love as well. Following a forgettable seven-point outing in Game 1, CP3 finished with a stat line of 18 points, eight assists, and four boards.
Give the Suns’ credit for adjusting as they opted to pressure Leonard more in the second half, which resulted in the Clippers struggling a bit from an offensive standpoint. The result was a 123-109 victory for the home team, tying this series at 1-1, with the series shifting to LA for Games 3 and 4.
Here are my predictions for this contest.
The O/U total opened at 228 total points. That line has shifted a bit to 227. Currently, the UNDER is attracting 87% of the cash and the OVER is attracting 57% percent of the tickets (subject to change).
During the regular season, these teams split the four-game set, with both teams winning on their home court. The projected 228-point threshold was eclipsed only once.
And through the first two games of this playoff series, the teams combined for 225 total points in Game 1 and 232 points in Game 2. Here are a few trends that suggest why we should consider going with the OVER.
The OVER is 7-1 for the Suns in their last nine road games against teams with a winning home record. The Clippers were 23-18 at home.
The OVER also holds a 7-1 record for Phoenix in its last seven first-round postseason games.
On the other side, the OVER is 9-1-1 for the Clippers in the last 11 instances when they have allowed 100-plus points in their previous outing. The Suns scored 123 points in Game 2.
The Over holds a 5-1 mark for LA in its last six games when they have played on one day of rest.
Prediction: OVER 227 points
The Suns opened as a consensus 3.5-point favorite. That line has dropped to (-2.5).
Phoenix is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games in which they have played on one day of rest.
The Suns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 first-round playoff games. And Phoenix is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 instances in which their opponents scored more than 100 points. The Clippers scored 109 points in Game 2.
Phoenix is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between these teams. It is also worth noting that the Suns are 5-1 ATS in the last six games they’ve played in Los Angeles.
Prediction: Suns (-2.5)
Play Prop Bet
My key player for Game 3 is Suns guard Devin Booker. He currently has (-110) odds of scoring more than 29.5 points and (-120) odds of scoring less than 29.5 points.
In 30 games against the Clippers (including playoffs), Booker is averaging 21.7 points per contest.
Booker scored 26 in the series opener and he followed that up with a 38-point effort in the Sun’s Game 2 win on Tuesday night.
Prediction: Devin Booker will not exceed the projected 29.5 points total.
OVER 227 total points
PPB: Devin Booker UNDER 29.5 points