Suns vs. Clippers Preview: Who Has More Motivation on Wednesday?

Read on for Action Network NBA writer Matt Moore's analysis of the Wednesday night NBA contest between the Suns and the Clippers.

Suns vs. Clippers Odds

Suns Odds +2.5
Clippers Odds -2.5
Over/Under 226.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

This Suns vs. Clippers matchup is a fascinating one, and it could very well be a first-round battle. Unfortunately, neither team has much of a reason to play their guys in this spot given their respective playoff situations.

Still, we only have so many games left on the slate, so let’s bet Suns-Clippers!

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Suns Come in With Little Motivation

Phoenix’s only listed injuries as of this writing are Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky.

However, the Suns are on a back-to-back after eliminating the Los Angeles Lakers to set a new franchise record for wins on Tuesday night. The Suns have locked in the No. 1 seed and they are on the second night of a travel-filled back-to-back.

What I’m telling you is that I’m going to be very surprised if the Suns play almost anyone in this game, and the line reflects that. The Suns were still on a mission for a few weeks to set the franchise record for wins, but now that they’ve accomplished that, this game has some of the least stakes they’re going to have, and a lot of incentive to rest.

Phoenix matches up pretty well with the Clippers conceptually. Their ability to punish switching defenses with Deandre Ayton and their shooting (10th best in the league against switching defense per Second Spectrum) combined with their ability to switch on their own against the Clippers’ small ball gives them edges if fully healthy.

However, if they rest starters, that significantly impacts that ability and the Clippers will have enough firepower to get past them.

That is, if the Clippers are playing folks…

Clippers Likely to Show More Intensity 

Norman Powell has been improving and is listed as doubtful for this game.

Jay Scrubb, Jason Preston, and of course, Kawhi Leonard are all out.

The funny thing is the Clippers have nothing to play for either. The Pelicans in ninth can’t catch the Clippers in eighth, and the Clippers in eighth can’t catch the Wolves in seventh. They can’t move up or down, their regular season is done, and their play-in begins next Wednesday against either the Denver Nuggets or Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers haven’t listed anyone else on their injury report, indicating a possibility they’re’ going to play the full squad here. As such, the line has moved from Clippers -1 to Clippers -2.5 as of this writing.

I just want to put it out there that this game has absolutely zero consequences for either team’s playoff standing. Tread lightly, and if you want to be certain, wait until that final injury update after Ty Lue speaks tonight.

Suns-Clippers Pick

I like the Clippers in this spot because they have marginally more motivation. They need to get more minutes with Paul George on the floor for continuity.

The Suns just have no reason to play their guys on a back-to-back in this spot and even if they elect to give starters some minutes to avoid a fine, they won’t play much in the second half.

Furthermore, the over in Suns games where Chris Paul doesn’t play is 10-5 this season. I’ll lean towards the over and the Clippers.

Pick: Clippers -2.5, over 226.5