The LA Clippers are looking to go 2-0 up against the Phoenix Suns this season when they travel to the Footprint Center on Thursday. Phoenix completely dominated their first meeting, but both teams will be coming into the game with several players under COVID protocols.
Head coach Tyronn Lue has done an exceptional job keeping his team afloat without Kawhi Leonard this season. To add to that, they have also been affected by Paul George's ligament tear. Minus the star players and a few in the supporting cast, Lue has the LA Clippers playing resilient basketball.
The Phoenix Suns have several players who have exited virus protocols but will still be unable to play as they ramp up their conditioning. They will have the decided edge ainthey will still be led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The Suns are on yet another two-game winning streak and continue to play savvy basketball with impressive chemistry. Chris Paul’s ability to lead a decimated team has really shone in the last few games. The “Point God” is even making new recruit Bismack Biyombo look like he should have never been out of the NBA.
Fixture: LA Clippers vs Phoenix Suns | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Thursday, January 6th; 10:00 PM ET (Friday, January 7th; 8:30 AM IST)
Venue: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
LA Clippers Preview
The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are just two teams who went home disappointed after underestimating the LA Clippers without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Ty Lue’s team has been punching more than their weight as they are playing without any expectations. They could pose some trouble with a makeshift lineup if the Phoenix Suns take them lightly.
Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac, who have been quite steady without the LA Clippers’ All-Stars will also sit out. The Hollywood squad will have to rely on veterans Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka, Eric Bledsoe and Marcus Morris Sr. to get another win over the Suns.
Key Player - Eric Bledsoe
The LA Clippers are almost unrecognizable at this stage that Eric Bledsoe could be just one of a few on the roster who could make an impact in the game. Bledsoe will have the unenviable task of taking on Chris Paul or Devin Booker. Even if the journeyman point guard can’t have much impact on offense, his defense on the dynamic duo could keep them in the game.
If anything else, Bledsoe has been consistent with his career averages. He is posting 10.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. The 32-year old combo guard also looks rejuvenated with the LA Clippers this season with the way he has been playing defense.
LA Clippers Predicted Lineup
G - Reggie Jackson | G - Eric Bledsoe | F - Terance Mann | F - Marcus Morris Sr. | C - Serge Ibaka
Phoenix Suns Preview
The Phoenix Suns are playing as well as any team that is battling a spate of injuries and virus protocols. Without several of their regular players in the lineup, they have stuck to their brand of basketball that has made them elite this season.
The Suns rotate the ball very well despite a compromised unit on the floor. They have managed to survive on the scoring prowess of Devin Booker and the leadership and clutch game of Chris Paul. Head coach Monty Williams and staff should also be commended for adding Bismack Biyombo to the team.
Without Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, he has provided interior defense, hustle and energy on both ends of the floor. Paul, running the plays, is also facilitating easy buckets for Biyombo. There’s no doubt that they are the favored team in this game.
Key Player - Chris Paul
Devin Booker usually takes the limelight with his wide array of moves and sexy scoring. However, it’s Chris Paul that makes this team tick. The Phoenix Suns did well when Booker was sidelined with an injury. They’ll likely not do as well without Paul's impact on both sides of the ball.
In the Phoenix Suns’ win against the New Orleans Pelicans, their young opponents witnessed vintage Chris Paul. The 11x All-Star only scored 11 points, but he had five rebounds and a game-high 15 assists. He orchestrated their plays with near perfection.
Youngsters Jalen Smith, Cameron Johnson and veteran Biyombo, who is on a 10-day contract, were steady and even impressive due to CP3’s leadership and guidance. The LA Clippers' first order of business will clearly be to limit Paul's impact.
Phoenix Suns Predicted Lineup
G - Chris Paul | G - Devin Booker | F - Mikal Bridges | F - Cameron Johnson | C - Jalen Smith
Clippers vs Suns Match Prediction
Stranger things have happened in basketball and upsets can happen at any given time, but it’ll take a huge drop off from the Phoenix Suns to lose this game. The LA Clippers are too depleted to get their second win in the season series.
Where to watch the Clippers vs Suns game
NBA TV will air the game live on national TV. Local coverage of the matchup between the LA Clippers and the Phoenix Suns is available via Bally Sports Arizona and Bally Sports West.