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FutureStarrClippers Vs Suns Prediction - Clippers Won! (116-107)
On Thursday night, the Phoenix Suns return to action against the Los Angeles Clippers. A victory here could give them a big boost in their playoff standing in the Western Conference.
This season, the Suns have averaged seven wins per game and rarely disappoint their home court fans (only nine defeats out of twenty-nine). We expect them to put on a strong performance for this occasion.
The Clippers still have a chance to win this series, but it will take the right game plan and some luck. That is why it is so essential for them to start off on the right foot against Phoenix.
The Clippers made an impact early on, pushing the tempo and punishing the Suns on transition with 12 fast break points to take an early lead. By halftime, Los Angeles led by eight points and went on to secure a 115-98 victory.
Griffin made a major impact in this game, yet his efforts took their toll on his body throughout the night. After taking heavy hits all night long, Griffin was limited to 14 minutes in the second half.
Griffin may not have scored as many points as usual in this game, but he still managed to finish with 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting with six rebounds and four assists - an impressive accomplishment considering how unwell he has been this season.
But there's a chance the Clippers could release Griffin before the season ends. They have plenty of assets to use as leverage when doing so, including P.J. Tucker and several draft picks.
One way the Clippers could unload Griffin is by offering him a package that includes Brandon Knight, who will be free at the end of this year and an experienced defender. It would make financial sense for them to part with Knight and Griffin in exchange for assets so they can bring in someone complementary who can help them reach the postseason this season.
Ideally, they would seek to sign a veteran who can offer both defensive and offensive versatility as well as scoring, so that pairing could work. However, if the team is unwilling to part with any assets for such a deal, it's possible that the Clippers will keep Griffin and move forward in free agency without him.
Although Jamal Crawford may not be the ideal fit for the Suns, his presence will provide invaluable experience for the young players on the roster. As an experienced point guard who has appeared in multiple NBA Finals, Crawford knows how to play from a veteran's perspective and what it takes to succeed in this league; that knowledge will serve him well as he guides these young Suns through tough times.
He's a two-time Sixth Man of the Year who averaged 18 points per season throughout his career. Additionally, he was one of only four players to score 50 points in one game for three different teams.
However, he's had difficulty reaching the playoffs throughout his career and that's something he wants to change. Sick of losing, he's eager to prove it to his doubters.
After 597 games of team futility, he's hoping to prove that he can flourish on a winning team during the postseason. His ambition is to reach the NBA Finals with a team that will give him an opportunity.
His next stop could be the Hawks, an up-and-coming team that advanced to the second round of playoffs last season. Though he'll likely play more minutes as a sixth man due to Atlanta resigning Mike Bibby, this opportunity gives him an opportunity to prove he can contribute on a winning squad.
He may not fill the position of point guard that Phoenix so desperately needs, but his presence will at least provide valuable experience and mentorship to this young group of players. While he isn't a great shooter or passer, his presence on the offense can still benefit it in other ways.
Kokoskov has needed extra depth on the bench for years, and adding him can give them that edge. By teaching them aggressiveness and patience in practice, he hopes that it will yield results down the line.
DeAndre Jordan is one of the NBA's most captivating players, known for his ability to make teammates less guarded and put on an entertaining show in the locker room. Additionally, DeAndre serves as a self-appointed locker room mediator and tension reliever which made him so sought after during free agency.
Though he may no longer be the starter on most rosters, Jordan remains a force and essential part of the Denver Nuggets' young team that was struggling to find its identity. Jordan's upbeat demeanor, confidence, and ability to make teammates laugh have all played an integral role in their recent success.
Since being removed from the starting lineup, Jordan has been on a mission to maintain his physical and mental wellbeing ahead of the playoffs. He's playing more than 12 minutes per game this season, shooting an impressive 77 percent from the field, while still contributing heavily on offense despite having less playing time. Despite being out of contention for most games this year, Jordan continues to put up impressive numbers at the basket despite not being part of the starting lineup anymore.
The Nets are going small again, so Jordan's role has been diminished even more. Nonetheless, he remains committed to staying healthy in the hopes that he can earn his spot back someday. That day may not come soon enough though; nonetheless, he's getting reps and passing along his "big" wisdom to the young bigs on Brooklyn's roster.
It has been a long journey, but the veteran center's positive outlook has helped him adjust to his reduced role with the Nets. He's averaging 7.7 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting an incredible 77 percent from beyond the arc.
Jordan has found success in both physical and mental health, as well as regaining pride in the league by contributing to team victories. He was named an All-Star this season and earned the right to wear the gold uniform in California, where he played high school basketball.
Jordan loves playing video games and spending time with his kids when he's not playing basketball. His wife, Jordan-Williams, has been an incredible support to them throughout this difficult transition as well.
Two summers ago, Paul George joined the Clippers with high expectations that he would lead them to victory in the playoffs. Unfortunately, an injury in December put paid to that expectation and it appeared his career had come to a close. Fortunately, Paul George has returned to form this season and proven once more that he can be an impressive force on the court.
Before his injury, he was averaging 24.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists for the Clippers while being their primary shot creator. On defense as well, he allowed just 6.6 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
Ultimately, the team was able to stay competitive and finish with the fifth-best record in the Western Conference. Prior to his injury, it appeared as if George might be a legitimate MVP candidate for the Clippers this season.
On Monday night, the Clippers took a commanding 3-2 lead over Utah Jazz in the Western Conference finals with a Game 5 win. Without superstar Kawhi Leonard (who remains sidelined due to injury), George silenced critics with an impressive performance that put their team on track for advancement.
If George can perform well in the postseason, it will be a tremendous boon for the Clippers. They are currently facing an arduous road tournament to reach the playoffs and if George can contribute, it could prove decisive in their chances.
He's scoring a playoff career-high in points per game and shooting an impressive 39.2% from behind the 3-point line (the highest percentage ever). Additionally, he's averaging more assists per game than ever before while shooting a career-best percentage from both foul lines and free throw lines as well.
In his best postseason yet, he's proven that he can be a force on defense as well. This season he has allowed 6.6 fewer points per 100 possessions while averaging 2.2 steals per game.
George has been scoring more points per game than ever before and providing assists with limited minutes on the court. The Clippers offense is more efficient when he's present, and his court vision rivals none since Chris Paul. With these impressive statistics in mind, it appears George is ready to lead his team back into the playoffs once more.