The Los Angeles Clippers are back in a familiar situation as they host the Phoenix Suns for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday. The Clippers are down 0-2 for the third time in the 2021 NBA Playoffs after losing in a 104-103 Game 2 thriller on Tuesday. Deandre Ayton's alley-oop dunk with 0.7 seconds remaining sealed the defeat for Los Angeles. The Clippers, the first team in NBA history to overcome consecutive 0-2 deficits in the playoffs, head into Game 3 with Kawhi Leonard (knee) still out, while Chris Paul (health and safety protocols) is set to return for the Suns.
Tip-off from Los Angeles is set for 9 p.m. ET at Staples Center. William Hill Sportsbook lists Phoenix as a 1.5-point favorite in the Clippers vs. Suns odds, up half a point from the opening line. The over-under, or total number of points expected, is set at 221.5. Before finalizing any Suns vs. Clippers picks, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned almost $9,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up almost $700 on its top-rated picks this season and entered the conference finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on a stunning 100-66 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Clippers vs. Suns spread: Suns -1.5
- Clippers vs. Suns over-under: 221.5 points
- Clippers vs. Suns money line: Suns -120, Clippers +100
- LAC: The Suns are 24-17 against the spread on the road
- LAC: The Clippers are 25-18 against the spread at home
Why the Suns can cover
Phoenix has won nine consecutive postseason games, the longest playoff winning streak in franchise history. Ayton's game-winner capped off a 24-point, 14-rebound performance. Ayton is shooting 72.6 percent from the field in 12 playoff games, the best by any player in a 12-game postseason stretch since 1982-83. He has averaged 16.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in the NBA Playoffs 2021. Cameron Payne had a career-high 29 points, nine assists and no turnovers in Game 2. He became the fourth player in NBA history to total at least 29 points and nine assists with no turnovers in an Conference finals or NBA finals game, joining LeBron James, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Paul well return after missing the first two games of the series, and his 87 assists with 14 turnovers in 10 postseason games are the most assists with 14 or fewer turnovers in a 10-game playoff span since 1987. After scoring 40 points in the series opener vs. the Clippers, Devin Booker had 20 in Game 2, as he also suffered a bloody nose in the third quarter on a collision with Patrick Beverley. He has 339 points in his first 12 career playoff games, the most ever by a Suns player.
Why the Clippers can cover
Los Angeles will now look to take advantage of being back on its home floor in attempt to win its first game ever in a Western Conference finals series. This is the deepest playoff run in franchise history, and the Clippers have won four consecutive home playoff games this season. Los Angeles made NBA history in its last home game. The Clippers overcame a 25-point Utah lead to win Game 6 of their second-round series, marking the largest comeback in a series-clinching win by any NBA team over the last 25 seasons. The Clippers also won the one regular season home meeting with the Suns this year, 113-103 on April 8.
Paul George should be primed to redeem himself after missing a pair of critical free throws with 8.2 seconds left in Game 2. It was a rare occurrence for George, who shot 86.8 percent from the free-throw line during the season. George finished with 26 points, six rebounds and six assists in Game 2. He is averaging 26.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Reggie Jackson scored 19 points in Game 2, and is averaging 17.3 points per game during the postseason. Los Angeles has made 15-plus 3-pointers in five consecutive playoff games, the fourth-longest streak in NBA postseason history.
How to make Suns vs. Clippers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, projecting 224 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can only get this pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Clippers vs. Suns? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.