Things didn’t go at all like the LA Clippers planned last night and there were a number of reasons why. It can’t be blamed solely on the absence of Kawhi Leonard, even though it definitely hurt the team, or the overwhelming performance of Chris Paul had for the Phoenix Suns. Regardless of the reasons, the Clippers weren’t able to get the job done with everything on the line and the Suns now advance to their first NBA Finals since 1993. There’s always next year for the Clippers.
Suns Too Hot to Handle
The Suns proved to be too much for the Clippers last night. It was the last chance a depleted team had to stay alive, but playing without Leonard, as well as Ivan Zubac, proved to be too much. Even the team’s head coach, Tyronn Lue, realized that the Clippers were in trouble early on, unable to muster the energy to keep fighting. He said after the game, “I thought we ran out of gas. For that first half, we made a lot of mistakes mentally. That tells you guys are tired.”
Despite the mistakes, the Clippers still managed to put up a good fight and there were times that it appeared they might be able to claw their way back into the game. They went on a 10-0 run in the third to give them some extra juice, but an 8-0 run by Paul right after crushed the motivation. Paul ended the night with 41 points, with Devin Booker adding 22 as the Suns extended their lead in the fourth. Ultimately, they had no trouble maintaining control of the ball and walked away with a 130-103 win.
Phoenix Sets Up For Dominance
The Suns took out the LA Lakers in the first round of the postseason, giving the defending champions an extended break, they weren’t expecting. They went into the playoffs with the second-best record of the league, improving as the postseason moved forward. They swept both the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets to get to where they are now, which is just one series away from their first NBA Championship in franchise history.
The Suns have only ever made it this far twice, once in 1976 when they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games, and the second in 1993. They also made it through six before being bested by the Chicago Bulls who, at the time, were able to count on the services of Michael Jordan. Today’s NBA is playing a different ball game, and the Suns are ready to go all the way this year.
Hawks and Bucks Close to the End
The Suns will be able to take a little breather as they wait to see who wins the Eastern Conference battle. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks are now tied at two games apiece and will see who gains an edge tonight. Atlanta is coming off a crucial win in Game 4 to stay alive, annihilating the Bucks 110-88, and are hoping to do it again. They might have an advantage, too, as it doesn’t look like Milwaukee will be able to rely on Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight. He’s questionable after suffering a knee injury in Game 4 and, although an MRI showed no structural damage, won’t be at his best, even if he’s on the court.
Oddsmakers still believe the Bucks can survive without the Greek Freak, though, and are giving them -150 to the Hawks’ +125. With injuries causing problems for both teams, a moneyline bet should probably be avoided tonight. The spread is only two points in favor of the Bucks and should be avoided, as well. The injuries will play a huge part of the game, and there has not been enough consistency on the part of either team in this series to gauge which way the spread is leaning. The Over/Under is at 216.5 (-110) and, once again, injuries have to be a factor. Taking the Under is a safe bet and a good way to boost the bankroll.