The Clippers are either the same useless pretenders they have always been or they’re a top favourite to win an injury-riddled year for many.
The Los Angeles Clippers were able to successfully come back from two games down in the Western Conference semi-finals to defeat the top-seeded Utah Jazz.
On the other hand, the Phoenix Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in their second-round matchup. This is a highly-anticipated series as the Suns were a team that not many believed before the start of the season that they would make a playoff run. Instead, many were weighing up whether they would make the playoffs or not as they had not made it in ten years.
Many thought they had a good chance to make it this season after their 9-0 run in the bubble last season. Phoenix were able to go well above expectations and now find themselves up against the Clippers in the Western Conference finals. The Clippers were also a team that many thoughts would be second or first-round exists as last season looked certainly to be their year before they choked that 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the second round. A lot of people were losing faith in this team.
LA then proved the doubters wrong as they have gone to a place that no Clipper team has ever gone before. There were two instances in this Clipper playoff run where it seemed like they were going to have another disappointing end to the season as they were down two games to none in both series so far. Instead of being a failure once again, they made history by becoming the first team to ever come back from two games down in the same playoffs twice.
On the flip side, the Phoenix Suns have been the most impressive and entertaining team in these playoffs.
Off-season addition in 36-year-old Chris Paul has been the largest factor to their success as he has not only been outstanding through his scoring, but also has made the players around him better by utilising his unbelievable IQ and skills. Paul went from attempting to carry an Oklahoma Thunder team and get beaten in the first round into improving this young Phoenix Suns team and developing them into being a championship contender.
Devin Booker has also been putting up sensational numbers with 25.6 points per game and an average of 28 points per game in the playoffs. The injury information for both teams is huge as Paul will sit for the first game due to health and safety protocols and Clippers star Kawhi Leonard will be out for atleast Games 1 and 2 with a knee injury. This will lead to the battle of the two highly-ranked all-stars Paul George and Booker, who have been superb for their respective teams.
With the Brooklyn Nets now out of the playoffs after they were recently eliminated by the Bucks, that leaves the door wide open for the team who proceeds out of the Western Conference finals to win the championship.
My prediction is that this series will go the length and the Suns will overpower the Clippers as I can’t emphasize how much not having Kawhi Leonard for the first two games means for this Clippers team. Suns in seven.