Chris Paul leading Suns
The Phoenix Suns are the hottest team in the NBA, but with Devin Booker (hamstring) remaining out of action, they are facing tough times. Booker has missed the Suns' last four games leading up to the Clipper contest, with Phoenix winning three of the games.
Los Angeles is also without star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George (elbow), so depth is a question both ways.
NBA odds have the Suns as -3 favorites as they look to extend their record to 22-4.
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers
Others Stepping up for Suns
It's never easy losing one of your best players, but the good teams find a way to work around it.
With the NBA's best record, the defending Western Conference champions have not missed much as the calendar winds down. The likes of Chris Paul and JaVale McGee have stepped up their offensive output to make up for Booker’s 23.2 points per game.
The Suns have had no problem sharing the ball, as evidenced by their latest wins against the Spurs and Celtics. Paul changed the course of the game against the Spurs with a late steal, which didn't go unnoticed by teammate Cam Johnson.
"He's real crafty," Suns forward Cam Johnson told ESPN. "There's a reason he's one of the all-time steals leaders. He's smart, quick with his hands and when you watch him do it, it's pretty impressive."
The Suns are 13-12 against the spread, including a 21-point win (as three-point favorite) against the Celtics.
NBA betting spreads have the Suns as the slight favorites in what should be a close game. However, nine of their last 10 wins have been by four points or more, so covering the low spreads hasn’t been a problem.
Home Cooking for Clippers
The 15-12 Los Angeles Clippers are a much better team at STAPLES Center. They improved to 11-7 at home with wins over Boston and Orlando.
Despite playing without George of late and Leonard (ACL) for the season, the Clippers have been playing some of their best basketball. They have won four of the last five games, including statement wins over the Lakers and the Celtics.
It has been the Clipper defense which has set the table. They allowed only 90 points against Portland and 104 points against Orlando, which falls in line with their season average of 104.6.
However, the Clippers don't rank as highly on defense as the Suns. Phoenix ranks fifth in defense and offense, so the Clippers will be up against a well-balanced team Monday evening.
What may favor the Clippers is their recent dominance over the Suns. They are 10-3 against the spread in the last 13 meetings in Los Angeles and 17-8 ATS in the last 25 meetings overall.
That’s a dominant advantage and it’s why NBA betting markets have the Clippers as only +3 underdogs.
Suns Take Low-Scoring Affair
We fancy the Suns to beat the Clippers and cover the spread. They have been playing excellent basketball despite the injury to Booker.
Winning on the road against the Clippers has proven difficult over the last few years, but Paul has this team firing on all cylinders.
We’re expecting a low-scoring game and with the total at 210½ points, the under cashes in what may be in the vicinity of a 100-94 final score.
Taking the under for the Clippers team total (104 at -115) is another sound bet. They scored only 102 and 106 points in two wins last week, so they weren’t big scoring games.
Without George on the floor, it will be tough for the Clippers to muster enough on the offensive end.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -3 (-110)
Pick: Under 210½ (-110)