Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns Pick & Prediction APRIL 10th 2024

After the Phoenix Suns’ embarrassing first-half performance in an eventual loss to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, Phoenix will not have to wait long for a rematch.

And they’ll face an undermanned Clippers team to boot.

The Suns scored just 10 first-quarter points and 33 in the first half of a 105-92 defeat. Phoenix looked nothing like a team desperate to gain one of six guaranteed Western Conference playoff spots.

The Suns and Clippers will play again Wednesday night, this time at Los Angeles.

On Wednesday afternoon, Los Angeles ruled out forwards Paul George (left knee soreness) and Kawhi Leonard (right knee inflammation) and guard James Harden (right foot inflammation). In addition, guard Russell Westbrook (left hand contusion) and center Ivica Zubac (left ankle inflammation) are listed as questionable.

The Clippers (51-28) moved to the cusp of clinching the No. 4 spot and home-court advantage in a first-round series. They at least guaranteed themselves a 4-5 matchup in the first round and will be the No. 4 seed with one victory in their last three games, or a Dallas Mavericks defeat.

George scored 23 points, Zubac had 17 to go along with 13 rebounds, and Westbrook added 16 points, 15 boards and 15 assists to pace Los Angeles on Tuesday. Harden missed that game versus the Suns, while Leonard last played on March 31.

In becoming the first Clippers player with at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game, Westbrook also started the game guarding Suns star Kevin Durant.

“Every night I have defended at a high level since the start of the season, and I take pride in defending every night, knowing tendencies, knowing what guys like to do,” Westbrook said. “Kevin is one of the best scorers the game has ever had. My job will be difficult. But he can’t score if he doesn’t touch it.”

The Suns (46-33) shot 28.3 percent from the floor in the first half, when they trailed by as many as 37 points. But they hope some second-half momentum carries over into Wednesday’s game against the Clippers.

Phoenix pulled within seven points at 91-84 with 6:46 remaining and had enough time on the clock to pull off the biggest comeback in NBA history. The Suns were never able to get any closer, however.

When Tuesday started, the Suns held the No. 6 spot in the West on a tiebreaker over the New Orleans Pelicans. But they dropped to the No. 7 spot and a play-in tournament possibility with the loss and the Pelicans’ 110-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

“We didn’t play well enough in the first quarter, we didn’t execute, and when we did, we didn’t make shots,” said Suns coach Frank Vogel, whose team made 8 of 35 shots from 3-point range (22.9 percent). “When we got down, we started pressing, and it snowballed.”

Phoenix held Los Angeles to 18 points in the third quarter and 39 in the second half while still falling short. Durant overcame six-point performance in the first half to finish with 21 in the game. Phoenix’s Devin Booker scored just 12 points on 1-of-11 shooting from the floor. He made 10 of 11 free throws.

“We have to compete for spots and play through physicality better, and not just this game but in recent games,” Vogel said. “Teams want to get into us and re-route us and foul us. … Offensively, we have to be tougher.”

–Field Level Media

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