Clippers vs. Suns Preview: Back Phoenix to Cover Double Digits

Action Network NBA betting contributor Jacob McKenna previews how to bet Thursday's matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Clippers vs. Suns Odds

Clippers Odds +11
Suns Odds -11
Over/Under 220.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Los Angeles Clippers will make the short trip to Phoenix to take on the Suns in a Western Conference battle Thursday night.

After going to the NBA Finals last season, the Suns have picked up right where they left off and look as dominant as ever, entering this matchup as the second overall seed in the West with a record of 29-8. On the other hand, Los Angeles has faced some adversity, and as a result is a .500 team at this point in the season.

COVID-19 and injuries are affecting both squads for this game, meaning they will be shorthanded like much of the NBA has been recently. Which team will be able to weather the storm and come out on top?

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Clippers Struggling Defensively With Injuries

Not much has gone the Clippers’ way recently. They have lost seven of their last 10 games, and have been hit hard by injuries to some key rotation players as of late.

Paul George remains sidelined with an elbow injury, and L.A. will likely be without Luke Kennard, Ivica Zubac, Isaiah Hartenstein, and potentially Nicolas Batum and Brandon Boston as well.

The weight of those injuries has certainly been felt during the most recent 10 game stretch for the Clippers. As a unit, L.A. has an Offensive Rating of just 105.7 during that span of time, the fourth lowest in the NBA. The Clippers have also scored the third least amount of points on a per game basis in the NBA in their last 10, averaging just 103.4 points per game, which is 2.1 points less than their season average of 105.5.

The loss of Paul George will clearly affect L.A.’s offensive production, but his absence is arguably being felt more on the defensive end of the floor, along with the absence of Zubac and Hartenstein.

With Zubac and Hartenstein out, Serge Ibaka is relied on heavily to defend the paint, which is a job that is tough for just one man to do. That has been evident recently, as the Clippers are surrendering an average of 54 points per game in the paint in their last 10 games, the second most in the NBA.

Furthermore, according to NBA Advanced Stats, the Clippers’ Defensive Rating has jumped up to 111.5 in their past 10 games when compared to their overall rating this season of 106.4, another indication that this team is struggling with their current roster.

Recent Hurdles Can’t Faze Suns 

The Suns are once again a problem, and it should not come as a surprise.

The Suns have been great on both ends of the floor this season, posting an overall net rating of 7.5 according to NBA Advanced stats, the third-best Net Rating in the NBA. However, in their last 10 games, Phoenix’s Net Rating has jumped up to 12.3, further exemplifying their dominance all over the court recently.

This team is loaded with talent, and not only can they put up huge numbers, but the Suns have been able to score the basketball with incredible efficiency. As a team, Phoenix leads the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting just over 47% from the field, while also managing to shoot 37% from behind the arc.

The Suns have managed to do most of that while facing many injuries and while having several players in the health and safety protocols as well. Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Landry Shamet, JaVale McGee, and Abdel Nader are still in protocols and will miss this game, but as seen above Phoenix has been able to find production from several other players.

Some of those players obviously include Devin Booker and Chris Paul, both of whom are shooting over 45% from the field this season. Contributions from sharpshooter Cam Johnson, Cameron Payne, and Mikal Bridges have helped keep them afloat as well, all of which have played a large role in the Suns recent stretch of games.

Clippers-Suns Pick

Both teams are by no means at full-strength entering Thursday’s matchup, but one team has had far more success with many of their players out of the picture.

As previously mentioned, L.A. has won just three of their last 10 games, but the Suns have managed to grab seven wins in their last 10 while mostly being shorthanded. They’ve also won many of those games in a dominate fashion, winning by an average of 20.85 points in those seven wins.

Furthermore, the Clippers are just 7-8 on the road this season, while Phoenix is an incredible 16-4 on their home court. My modeI has the Suns winning by 13, and I agree that the Suns stay hot and take advantage of a shorthanded Clippers team on Thursday.

Pick: Phoenix Suns -11 (-110)