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Phoenix Starts Playoffs Against Los Angeles

Phoenix Starts Playoffs Against Los Angeles

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Phoenix starts playoffs against Los Angeles

The Phoenix Suns will begin their postseason journey this Sunday when they face Los Angeles in a first round play-in game. Should they prevail, they will then face a Western Conference opponent for a best-of-seven series.

The Suns endured a difficult season marred by injuries and inconsistent play, but made a strategic trade with Kevin Durant just before Feb 9's deadline that has put them back into championship contention.

Durant Back in Practice

On Sunday, when the Phoenix Suns open up the playoffs against Los Angeles, Kevin Durant returns to practice ready to go and that is good news for fans and all those following them.

Two-time NBA Champion Steve Kerr hasn't played since injuring his right calf on May 8 during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, but is making progress toward being ready to return. On Monday he revealed he is "getting closer" to being back out there on court.

He's been practicing for about a month, yet has yet to take part in contact drills. If he were cleared for contact drills on Wednesday, it could pave the way for his return in Game 3 of this series on Friday.

If he has yet to be cleared to play by then, it is likely he won't be available for the opening round of playoffs against the Clippers; their success depends on winning to avoid having to play-in game in April.

At present, they're playing their best basketball of the year and hope to build off it as they move into the playoffs. If they can extend their season into June, then they may just find themselves on track towards making it to the NBA Finals.

They'll have to handle the grind that comes with playoff basketball, which explains why Durant says he feels at home in Phoenix since joining from Brooklyn - having never lost in eight appearances with them so far!

As part of his 8 games with the Suns, he's amassing an average of 26.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists - a career-best. Additionally, his field goal percentage stands at 57% while three point shooting percentage stands at 53.7%.

As soon as he rejoins, he must assume a new role for the Suns as they look to build team chemistry and compete for playoff positioning - two goals of great importance to rebuilding after falling short last season.

Durant remains confident about his chances in the playoffs despite their busy schedules, believing that their experience allows them to quickly adjust to new teams. He pointed out that many signature plays from regular season won't work anymore in postseason play - meaning he needs to learn his team's system better in order to perform effectively.

Warren Ready to Go

Phoenix begins their playoff run against Los Angeles with home court advantage already secured through two games of their series. Led by Devin Booker, Phoenix blew out Los Angeles 113-100 to take an early 3-1 lead in Game 1.

Suns won't get to celebrate until they play in the Western Conference Finals; until then, they must rely on some other players who must produce.

T.J. Warren offers the Suns an intriguing option off their bench that may become invaluable as time progresses. While he won't make an impactful statement in any type of 12-team fantasy format, Warren could provide decent scoring with potential in deeper formats.

He played just seven minutes in his debut, but the Suns will have plenty of opportunities for him to expand his usage during this upcoming week. Given his track record in postseason play, now is an opportune time to track him in your league.

Warren has had difficulty seeing significant playing time with the Suns in the past, but his recent postseason performance could give him a chance to reestablish himself as an effective fantasy bench option. Given his injury history and limited minutes in high-scoring leagues, it may not be worth using him much in 12-team formats due to his ability to shoot from deep distances.

Warren will likely sit out Saturday against the Wizards, though recent practice work indicates he could potentially return for part of a back-to-back on Sunday afternoon. Therefore, Yuta Watanabe may continue playing an elevated role with the Nets' second unit until Warren has returned fully.

The Suns may find it challenging to get their top players back, but should still present a formidable case in this series. By keeping their focus on what needs to be done at hand and staying committed to the task at hand, they have an opportunity to return to the NBA Finals.

George Making “Tangible Progress”

Los Angeles Clippers will face Phoenix Suns in the first round of Western Conference playoffs. However, star forward Paul George may miss at least part of this series due to an ankle injury he sustained against Oklahoma City Thunder on March 21.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that George has made "tangible progress" in his rehabilitation process. Although the length of time he will remain out remains unknown, he has already demonstrated mobility by walking freely; therefore he appears on track for returning in time for round one of playoffs.

As previously indicated, George could return in the second round of playoffs; however, it will take him some time to adjust and reach his peak performance level. While he should still contribute offensively in this series, some of his defensive versatility will likely be lost.

George has been an integral component of the Los Angeles Clippers offense this season, averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Additionally, his presence serves as an invaluable facilitator easing Kawhi Leonard's scoring burden.

Though George missed most of their season, they still managed to secure fifth seed in the Western Conference with a win against Sacramento at home in the final games and will likely be +330 underdogs when facing Phoenix Suns in their first playoff round series starting April 16. Norman Powell and Nicolas Batum will have larger roles while Eric Gordon may see increased scoring opportunities if George is absent for all or part of it.

The Suns boast an exceptional frontcourt with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton leading their ranks, so George's absence would be felt acutely by their opponents. If George misses any part of this series - especially all three games - then it will make life harder for Clippers' attempts at competitiveness in this matchup.

Suns’ Schedule

The Suns have established themselves as one of the premier teams in the Western Conference with their impressive record. Led by Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton in their frontcourt lineup; as well as veteran bench players that could provide essential depth come playoff time.

Phoenix Suns possess a tremendous array of talent on the perimeter. Durant, George and Warren are all elite shooters who will provide Phoenix with plenty of scoring. In addition, veteran defensive players like Torrey Craig and Terrence Ross provide solid defensive performance.

However, they do possess one major weakness in their backcourt that could hinder them during the playoffs: Paul George is an integral component of their offense; however, their point guard hasn't been at 100% all season long due to health concerns.

Due to this instability in his game, Davis has experienced a lack of consistency over the past four weeks - not averaging more than 14 points in any one game and shooting just 40 percent from three-point range during that timeframe.

Simply put, his impact on the offense has been much lesser than expected. While this could hinder their chances in the playoffs, they must find ways to compensate for his diminished production.

One factor that could prove decisive in this series is a team's schedule. They have played four games in three days this month and three out of their final five contests within seven days - two factors which could create tension in this contest.

If they can win four games, the Suns will be in great position to face off against an impressive Los Angeles squad in the opening round. That would leave Los Angeles struggling for easy wins which would put them at a severe disadvantage.

The Suns will face another challenging schedule this year and must perform at their best if they hope to have any chance at defeating the Lakers in the first round. That will especially hold true if Paul George returns for Games 3 and 4.

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