NBABet's 4 Favorite Bets for Clippers vs. Suns Game 2

Our NBA analysts unveil their four favorite bets for Tuesday's NBA Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Things should continue to heat up in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on Tuesday when the Phoenix Suns look to take a 2-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Devin Booker and the Suns, who are 5-point favorites in this game, opened the best-of-7 series with a 120-114 victory over the Clippers this past Sunday.

Four of our NBA analysts have delivered their best bets for this showdown in the desert. Let’s take a look at their favorite selections in this matchup.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Deandre Ayton Over 15.5 Points (-110)
Book DraftKings
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET

Roberto Arguello: Deandre Ayton will take advantage of favorable matchups against the Clippers when they go big with Ivica Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins or small with Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum in the frontcourt as his size, strength and quickness combination is unmatched.

Ayton, who scored an efficient 20 points on 14 shots in Game 1, must be aggressive in sealing and posting up mismatches to get shots in the paint before defenders can rotate to him. His ability to punish the Los Angeles for switching smaller players onto him defensively will be important to neutralize the Clippers’ best defensive chance of limiting Booker.

With Chris Paul out, I like the chances of Ayton having a big scoring night, especially if the Clippers play aggressively and try to force the ball out of Booker’s hands.

If Morris’s mobility remains limited by his knee injury (head coach Tyronn Lue is unsure if he will play), the Suns will have more chances to create advantages offensively against a drop or more aggressive hedging strategy to limit Booker’s ability to get downhill. This will lead to Ayton facing more favorable matchups against help defenders whom he should dominate against down low.

Ayton’s point total is listed at 15.5 at DraftKings, and after scoring at least 15 points in each of the five previous Games 1 and 2 in each Suns series, expect him to score at least 16 points in his most favorable series matchup.

His lowest-scoring games of the postseason have overlapped with Paul’s best games as he beat opponents with his midrange game. However, with the veteran floor leader out and a matchup advantage inside, there’s value on Ayton to score 16 or more points. Play this prop at -115 or better.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Total Over 224
Book DraftKings
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET

Raheem Palmer: Have you seen this Clippers’ defense since Kawhi Leonard went down?

In the final two games of their second-round series against the Utah Jazz, they gave up offensive ratings of 119.3 and 134.9. In Game 1 against the Phoenix Suns, they yielded an Offensive Rating of 130.5. The Clippers simply have no hopes for slowing down the Suns, which has a center in Deandre Ayton who can punish a switch unlike Utah’s Rudy Gobert.

In addition, the Clippers are 25th in mid-range shooting frequency (33.1%) and 18th in mid-range shooting accuracy (42.8%), which doesn’t bode well against Devin Booker. The Phoenix star guard is in the 97th percentile of mid-range shooting percentage (50%) this season, plus he tore the Clippers up in the third quarter by scoring 12 points in the final 3:09 of the frame to seize control of the game after they lost the lead.

Nonetheless, the Clippers’ offense has carried this team as its small-ball lineup has spaced the floor, creating 3-pointers for a team that was first in 3-point field-goal percentage this season 41.8 percent. Paul George continues to prove he’s capable of being a No. 1 option, as he was during his Indiana years.

Even without Leonard, Los Angeles has put up Offensive Ratings of 130.4, 148.5, and 124.0 in their last three games. Despite Game 1 clocking in at just 92 possessions, both the Suns and Clippers were hyper-efficient and it’s tough to see how that changes going forward. Phoenix has bigs who can be exploited in Ivica Zubac and DeMarcus Cousins, plus the Suns don’t have many answers for the Clippers defensively.

Oddsmakers bumped the total up from the Game 1 line of 219 to where it currently sits now at 224 points. If your’e looking for an interesting caveat, check out the difference in pace when Chris Paul is on the floor for the Suns as opposed to when Cam Payne is playing.

2021 Playoffs

Paul Pace: 96.65
Payne Pace: 98.38

2021 Regular Season

Paul Pace: 98.92
Payne Pace: 99.23

We didn’t see it in Game 1, but typically the Suns play quicker when Payne is on the floor, so I’m expecting a faster paced game. With both offenses being so efficient, I’ll play the over 224 points.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Nicolas Batum — Over 9.5 Rebounds + Assists (+108)
Book FanDuel
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: The Clippers have an identity and it’s playing small, plus switching everything.

Small-ball Los Angeles dismantled Dallas and then top-seeded Utah, though it remains to be seen whether the formula will work as well against Phoenix. The Clippers don’t have much to offer by way of big men. Ivica Zubac’s drop coverage isn’t working so well in the playoffs, and DeMarcus Cousins is best used in a small role off the bench.

Instead, the Clippers are at their best when they get as many of their long, athletic wings on the court as possible, and Nicolas Batum might well be the second-best Los Angeles player remaining at this point. Since going down 0-2 to the Jazz, Batum has been playing a massive role for the Clippers. He’s playing 37.2 minutes per game in five outings since, and he’s averaging 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in those games.

Batum is basically playing center for this team, and he’s been remarkably good as a rim protector and defensive playmaker. And on offense, he’s helping to space the opponent out. Batum is a very smart player and good passer, and he’s had multiple assists in eight of his last nine games.

Batume also had at least seven rebounds in five consecutive games, playing big as the new Los Angeles “big man,” and those numbers were even higher in Game 1 when he had 10 rebounds and three assists.

Especially with Marcus Morris ailing a bit and Zubac looking out of place in Game 1, we should continue to get a lot of Batum at center. I trust him to keep racking up rebounds in his new role, and he’s going to get two or three assists if he plays that many minutes. I have to grab the combo over here at plus juice.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Clippers +5
Book PointsBet
Tipoff 9 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: The fact that the Clippers nearly stole Game 1 on the road with tired legs and somehow became bigger underdogs in Game 2 is mind-boggling to me. The absence of Chris Paul was felt in a big way, considering the Suns posted their worst defensive efficiency rating at 121.3 points per 100 possessions in that game, and allowed 42.3% shooting from 3-point land.

It appeared that Phoenix finally met its match, a team that can force turnovers and hit threes, and things seemed troubling at times during the second half.

It’s important to remember the Clippers actually led mid-way through the third quarter, and managed to pull it back to a two-point game in the final minute even if they didn’t cover. That’s much closer than you’d expect them to get to winning considering they had just one day to rest from a delirious shooting night in a Game 6 win over the Jazz.

It’s also worth talking about the fact that Ty Lue, much like LeBron James, normally uses the first two games to feel out the opponent and experiment with different lineups (like DeMarcus Cousins & Rajon Rondo). When you take all of that into consideration, I think there’s a ton of upward mobility for the Clippers.

If you think the Clippers will regress in their three-point shooting and perhaps not have as much success on that end as in Game 1, remember that this is the team that led all of basketball in the category by a decently wide margin, hitting 41.1% of threes this year. They’re missing Kawhi Leonard, but this cast of veterans (and Terance Mann) haven’t looked like they’re missing a beat without him, at least as it pertains to shooting.

I just think that the Paul injury will finally bite the Suns, and the Clippers kill them with consistency on both ends of the floor. If you think back to the last two series, Los Angeles watched some stars go for ridiculous games, and some teams have crazy shooting nights. In the end, though, it never wavered once.

This is a team that has played steady basketball and has continued to do so without its best player. Why would any of that change now?

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