Game 1 between the Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers did not unfold as anyone expected.
Kawhi Leonard turned in a masterpiece. Russell Westbrook made huge defensive plays despite shooting 3-of-19 from the floor. Ivica Zubac outplayed Deandre Ayton. The Suns couldn't buy a three—or any rim pressure. Chris Paul looked old. Kevin Durant barely touched the ball in crunch time. It was weird, and physical, and chaotic. The end result: The Clippers stole a victory on the road without Paul George, who remains out for the series.
This might mean Phoenix has LA on the ropes. Linemakers aren't buying it, though. Just look at the latest odds for the 2023 NBA playoffs entering this matchup:
Like usual, you'll want to double-check these NBA online betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Suns vs. Clippers betting odds are accurate as of Monday, April 17. That gives linemakers plenty of time to incorporate adjustments before opening tip-off on Tuesday, April 18, at 10 p.m. EST.
Any last-minute changes won't be an issue, of course, if you sign up with the right lines provider. That's why we strongly recommend checking out our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. We've compiled all the information you need to spot the best online betting sites for the 2023 NBA playoffs.
So, who should you bet on to win Clippers vs. Suns Game 2? And has anything changed for the rest of the series following Game 1? Let's get to our Suns vs. Clippers playoff picks.
The Phoenix Suns will Get Their Offensive Act Together in Game 2
Phoenix's offense struggled mightily in Game 1. Durant didn't score at all in the first quarter, and while both he and Devin Booker turned up the heat for stretches at a time later on, the Suns lacked a serious amount of punch.
Paul never got going. Ayton continued to bail out of touches too far away from the basket. The Suns shot under 33 percent from deep and only 18 percent of their total field-goal attempts came at the rim. Their bench, meanwhile, provided very little. Cameron Payne remains sidelined with an injury, and head coach Monty Williams only had six players log more than 10 minutes. More curious still, Durant was not a prominent part of the Suns' crunch-time offense. He spent a good chunk of their possessions spacing out in the corner, away from the ball.
This might be worth some serious concern. Phoenix, after all, hasn't enjoyed a ton of time with this group. This was just Durant's ninth game in a Suns uniform since being traded from the Brooklyn Nets. As talented as this team is on paper, you can see the awkwardness for possessions at a time.
And yet, we can't bring ourselves to worry long term. If Durant is spending time away from the ball, that means the Suns are removing Kawhi Leonard from the Clippers' defensive actions. That's a big deal. They'll get better shot-making nights from Ayton and Paul and take more advantage of 4-on-4 situations. And when they do give the ball to Durant, they can expect better shot-making from him, as well.
Granted, the rim pressure issues aren't going away. That doesn't bug us much. The Suns have the perimeter firepower to overcome a lack of volume at the basket. And their defense, while shallow, should do a better job of mucking up the shorthanded Clippers. Kawhi will always be terrific, but the Suns would have won on Sunday night if they were more alert when crashing the defensive glass. In the end, we agree with the oddsmakers here. It will be a genuine shock if Phoenix falls behind 2-0 to this version of the Clippers.
OSB Prediction: Phoenix Suns (-330)
Is There Really a Huge Talent Gap Between Phoenix and LA?
Here are the latest NBA point spread betting odds for the Suns vs. Clippers matchup on on Tuesday night:
- Phoenix Suns, -7.5 (-110)
- LA Clippers, +7.5 (-110)
Though we do see the Suns winning this one, we're not yet inclined to give them an eight-point advantage. There are always going to be pockets of time in which they struggle to score. Paul doesn't have the same burst at his age, and Ayton's offense has been all over the place for most of this season.
What's more, the lineups Phoenix fields when just one of Booker or Durant is in the game have not looked great. This will likely change as they get more practice time and if they're able to add another ball-handler off the bench. But those issues aren't getting resolved before next season. The Clippers do a good enough job controlling the possession game that they should remain within striking distance unless a handful of Suns players catch fire.
OSB Prediction: LA Clippers, +7.5 (-110)
Oddsmakers are Expecting the Suns and Clippers to Get More Bucks in Game 2
Below you can see the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Clippers vs. Suns:
- Over 225.5 (-110)
- Under 225.5 (-110)
This over/under is interesting. LA and Phoenix totaled 225 points on the button Sunday night. Oddsmakers clearly believe that represents more of a floor than ceiling.
We disagree. Both the Clippers and Suns should shoot better from long distance, but neither team is looking to generate a ton of extra possessions on the break or tack on additional points at the free-throw line with their rim pressure. Game 2s also usually see both sides enter with more effective defensive strategies after going up against each other just a couple of days before.
Make no mistake, there's a little risk here. The Suns have the offensive firepower to go off for 125 points on any given night. But we've yet to see them coalesce for long enough to think they'll routinely hit that benchmark.
OSB Prediction: Under 225.5 (-110)
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your 2023 NBA playoffs betting: