Los Angeles Clippers vs Phoenix Suns (2/16 @ 10:00 PM EST)
Spread: Clippers -2
Money Line: Clippers -130 / Suns +110
Overview and Betting Info
The Los Angeles Clippers (32-28) will head to the Valley of the Sun to take on the Phoenix Suns (32-27) on Thursday night. The Suns have won both of their previous matchups by at least 16 points, holding the Clippers to 95 points in each. The Suns are fourth in the West, while the Clippers are a half-game behind in fifth.
The Clippers are 30-30 against the spread this season but have failed to cover three of their last four games. They’ve gone over the total 26 times and have done so in three of their last five.
The Suns are 32-27 versus the spread and have covered seventeen of their 29 home games. They have gone over the total 27 times but have been under in five of their last six games.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers enter Thursday’s contest losing two of their last three games. After losses to the Mavs and Bucks, LA was able to dominate the Warriors on Tuesday. Now they’ll be meeting a Suns team that they can jump in the standing with a win. The Clippers’ offense has struggled to find consistency, ranking twenty-seventh in scoring (111.4 PPG), twenty-first in field goal percentage (46.9%), and twenty-sixth in assists (22.8 APG). They shoot well from three, ranking sixth in the league (37.9%). LA’s defense has saved them this season, ranking fourth in opponent scoring (111.2 PPG) and tenth in field goal percentage (47.0%). They have struggled to defend the three, allowing opponents to make 36.4% of their attempts (20th). The Clippers are 17-15 on the road this season and 5-4 against division opponents.
The Clippers are led by a talented duo of stars in Paul George (23.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG) and Kawhi Leonard (22.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG). George’s shooting percentage dropped in February, making 43.9% (48.9% in January). Regardless of how well he is shooting, the forward can hurt teams with his passing, rebounding, and defense. He did not play well against the Suns in his one game against them, scoring 16 points by making just 36.4% of his shots. After being eased into action this season, Leonard is finally back in top form. His shot has been incredible in 2023, making 54.6% of his shots in January and 47.4% in February. He’s been on fire from three this month, making 56.5% of his attempts. Kawhi played the Suns in October, where he scored 11 points and stole the ball twice. He was on a minute restriction still, limiting him to just 21. So far in February, he is averaging 36.4 minutes per game.
The Clippers made a lot of changes to their roster at the trade deadline, boosting their depth behind their top two stars. Those additions include Eric Gordon (13.0 PPG) and Mason Plumlee (12.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG). Gordon is a veteran sharpshooter that will complement Leonard and Paul nicely. He made 45.5% of his threes this month and had seven points in his Clippers debut on Tuesday. Plumlee helps solidify the Clippers post play as he joins fellow seven-footer Ivica Zubac (10.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG). Zubac is a talented young center who is a great rebounder and defender, but Plumlee is a seasoned veteran who is a bit more offensive-minded. Lastly, don’t forget about Norman Powell (17.0 PPG). The forward is a crucial scorer behind their two stars and is having a fantastic February by averaging 21.3 points.
After starting strong, injuries took their toll on the Suns in December and January, with a combined record of 12-19. This led them to trade some key role players and picks to get Kevin Durant. The former MVP is out with a knee injury, leaving the Suns to attempt to tread water while they wait. They have gone 2-1 since the trade and will be looking for one more before the All-Star Break. The Suns will need Durant to help improve their offense, as they rank twenty-second in scoring (112.8) and field goal percentage (46.5%). They shoot well from three, ranking fifth by making 37.9% of their attempts. Their defense has been good all season, ranking fifth in opponent scoring (111.2 PPG), eighth in field goal percentage (46.7%), and eighth in blocks (5.0 BPG). The Suns are 20-9 at home this season and 9-0 against division opponents.
The Suns are led by a trio of stars in Devin Booker (26.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.4 APG), Deandre Ayton (18.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG), and Chris Paul (13.9 PPG, 9.0 APG, 1.5 SPG). Booker missed the end of December and all of January with an injury, but he’s been improving in his first three games back. He is struggling with his three-point shot, making just 29.4% in three games this month. It hasn’t slowed him much, as Booker had 32 points without a three-point attempt on Tuesday. Ayton is having a nice year and has been incredible this month by averaging 24.9 points, 1.0 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. The scoring numbers result from Ayton making 72.1% of his shots in February. In his one game against the Clippers, Ayton was held to 13 points and eight rebounds. Paul has seen his shot begin to disappear of late, limiting him to a 34.5% field goal percentage this month. Even without the scoring, Paul has been fantastic moving the ball (10.4 APG) and on defense (2.1 SPG). He is the only one to play the Clippers twice this season, with ten or more assists in each game.
With the Durant trade sending away several top role players and Cameron Payne (12.1 PPG, 5.3 APG) and Landry Shamet (9.5 PPG) out with injury, the Suns do not have much depth. They will rely on Josh Okogie (5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG) and TJ Warren (9.3 PPG) to support their stars. Okogie has capitalized on the increased playing time by averaging 20.3 points, and 2.0 steals in his three games as a starter. He is a fantastic three-point shooter, making 60% of his attempts as a starter. Warren was acquired along with Durant and will likely see an increase in minutes on Thursday. When he plays over 20 minutes, Warren can be a reliable scorer and help make up for the Suns’ missing offense.