Clippers vs. Suns Preview: Value on Over/Under

On the second leg of a back-to-back, the Clippers travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns. Joe Dellera has one bet for this West Coast showdown.

Clippers vs. Suns Odds

Clippers Odds +12.5
Suns Odds -12.5
Over/Under 222
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Clippers look to make it two straight wins against the best in the West after they dismantled the Warriors last night. Can they keep it up against the Suns, or will Chris Paul and the Suns continue their domination of the league?

Let’s break it down.

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Can Clippers Put Up a Fight?

The Clippers officially have one of the strangest rotations in the NBA at this point.

Much of this has to do with injuries, as they’re without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but now they are also without the newly acquired Norman Powell — and Luke Kennard (ankle) missed yesterday’s game. The Clippers played eight different players over 23 minutes, and the only two who played more than 30 were Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann — they’re unpredictable.

One thing to consider with this Clippers team is that on the season, they are 19th in Adjusted Net Rating, and their offense is at the bottom of the league with an Adjusted Offensive Rating of 108.1 (26th).

Their one strong point is they play solid defense and own the eighth-best Adjusted Defensive Rating (108.7). I’ll attribute this to coaching and scheme. However, over the past two weeks, the Clippers are allowing 116.9 points per 100 possessions (23rd) and have come in well below their season average.

They have seen their allowed eFG% spike to 55.6% — some of this may be due to injuries or trades — but the Clippers have outperformed their allowed eFG% all season, and now they are relying on Jackson and Terance Mann, neither of whom are known for their defensive prowess.

The Clippers have managed to defend both the half-court and transition well this season. However, an area they have struggled is defending putbacks. Ivica Zubac is capable, but after him, the Clippers just do not have the defensive depth.

Isaiah Hartenstein is an exciting talent, but he’s not exactly an intimidating rim protector. This could be problematic for the Clippers against a Suns team that is top 10 in rebounding percentage, per NBA Advanced Stats.

Suns Should Have No Problem on Offense

The Suns are a juggernaut, and the fact that they are not the resounding title favorites at this point is laughable. They have the league’s best Adjusted Net Rating (+7.8), the second-best Adjusted Offensive Rating (114.0), and the fourth-best Adjusted Defensive Rating (106.2). They control both sides of the floor and destroy teams whenever a game is even close down the stretch.

At the time of this writing, it seems as if the Suns may be without Cameron Payne (wrist) and Landry Shamet (ankle) considering they did not practice yesterday. They still have enough depth to handle this Clippers team.

However, the only concern is motivation with the All-Star break just around the corner.

Phoenix has won five straight and nine of its last 10 games. The defense has faltered slightly, but it’s more than made up for that with an uptick in offensive output. It’s scoring 123.2 points per 100 possessions.

Besides their advantage on the glass, the Suns should be able to find the shots they want against the Clippers. The Suns thrive from midrange and take midrange jumpers at the highest rate in the league, particularly short midrange while possessing the highest shooting percentage in the league from both locations. These are shots that the Clippers allow their opponents to take and the Suns could capitalize on this team whose roster is currently in flux.

Clippers-Suns Pick

The Clippers are on a back-to-back and traveling to Phoenix for this matchup. I expect the Suns to be able to score on this Clippers’ defense considering the roster changes they’ve undergone. There’s nuance to defense — it requires communication and practice.

Both the Clippers and the Suns are 4-1 to the over in their last five games, and both teams have seen upticks in their scoring while the Clippers defense has absolutely fallen off the rails. Their Defensive Rating sits at 118.9 over their last five games.

I’m not convinced the Suns will come out with the defensive vigor they may have in the postseason. We’ve seen both teams take a bit of a hit to their defense over the past few weeks, with the Clippers falling more rapidly than the Suns.

I think we will see points in this matchup, and I’ll take the over.

Pick: Over 221.5