Guard Russell Westbrook is going to be key if the Clippers are to replicate their outstanding performance in Game 1 where they won 115-110 on the road. The Suns host the Clippers for Game 2 of the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The game is expected to tip-off at 10:00 PM ET, Tuesday, April 18th, 2023.
Despite their success in Game 1, the Clippers are a hefty 7.5 point underdog, with doubts Westbrook can help the Clippers take a 2-0 series lead.
IS RUSSELL WESTBROOK MADE FOR THE PLAYOFFS?
After the Clippers 115-110 win over the Suns on Sunday, Westbrook has now had two of the greatest 3-19 shooting games of all time.
The last time Westbrook shot 3-19 from the field was in Game 4, Round 1 of the 2021 playoffs against the 76ers.
His stats included 19 points, 21 rebounds, 14 assists and two steals and in Sunday’s emphatic win he totaled just nine points, but had 11 rebounds and eight assists and his defensive clinic on Phoenix star Kevin Durant had to be seen to be believed.
He also arguably made the best play of the contest with 10.1 seconds left when he blocked Phoenix Guard Devin Booker’s layup.
The Clippers have announced their presence as a formidable playoff contender with a statement win against the Suns in Game 1. Led by the return of Kawhi Leonard, who showcased his playoff prowess with 38 points on 13-of-24 shooting, the Clippers are looking to extend their lead to 2-0 in the Western Conference series when they visit the Suns.
Leonard’s performance overshadowed even the highly anticipated playoff debut of Durant for the Suns, as the two-time NBA Finals MVP also contributed five rebounds and five assists to go along with his scoring. Despite a strong showing from Durant, who recorded 27 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds, the Suns suffered their first loss in nine games with him on the floor.
The Clippers also received a significant contribution from Westbrook, who despite struggling with his shooting, made crucial plays down the stretch. Eric Gordon also stepped up with 19 points, filling the void left by the absence of Paul George due to a knee injury.
The Suns, led by Booker’s 26 points, struggled early and trailed by 16 points in the second quarter but mounted a comeback with a 15-0 run in the third quarter to take the lead. However, the Clippers showed their resilience and outplayed the Suns in the closing moments to secure the victory.
As the series moves to Game 2, the Suns will look to regroup and make adjustments to bounce back, while the Clippers will aim to maintain their momentum and take a commanding 2-0 lead. With the absence of George and the return of Leonard, the Clippers will rely on their depth and versatility, while the Suns will need Durant and Booker to continue their scoring prowess and get more support from their role players, including Chris Paul.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
The Suns are favored by a large margin, but history shows that they have struggled to cover the spread in similar situations in the past. With a 1-4 record against the spread in their last five games as favorites of seven points or more, the Suns have a tough challenge ahead of them.
Although the Suns may come away with a win, the Clippers, led by the likes of Leonard and Westbrook, have the firepower to keep the game close. The Clippers have a solid track record as underdogs, going 5-5 against the spread in their last 10 games in this role. Expect a competitive game with the Clippers keeping it close throughout.
With these factors in mind, taking the Clippers to cover the spread could be a wise betting choice. But remember, it’s important to keep in mind that sports betting always involves a degree of risk, and there’s no guarantee that Westbrook will be able to mimic his performance from Game 1. As always, it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision based on the available data.
Spread: Suns -7.5
Moneyline: Suns -325, Clippers +250
Pick: Clippers +7.5
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