After defeating the top-seeded Utah Jazz on Friday night, the LA Clippers will take the floor against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon as they make their first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history.
Neither team will be at full strength in Game 1. Kawhi Leonard, who missed LA's final two games against the Jazz, remains out with a knee sprain. On Phoenix's end, Chris Paul will be sidelined for an indefinite amount of time due to health and safety protocols.
With that, there are a lot of unknowns in this series. Both teams have proven capable of surviving without their top dog, but the final outcome may be determined by which team gets healthy first.
As for Game 1, Paul George has another opportunity to earn a big win for the Clippers. The All-Star forward has been red-hot lately, averaging 31.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists and shooting 44.1% from beyond the arc over his last four appearances. George also played some of his best basketball against the Suns throughout the regular season, including a season-high 39-point performance in January.
Don't expect George's minutes to go much higher than 40, though — on Saturday, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that he's planning on going 10- or 11-deep in Game 1 to see who's capable of playing in the series and to steal some rest for guys who took on heavy loads against the Jazz.
For the Suns, look for Devin Booker to be the focus of Phoenix's offensive attack. The 24-year-old is averaging 27.9 points per game this postseason, and with Paul sidelined, he'll have the ball in his hands on almost every possession.
As is the case with LA, Phoenix has also gotten solid play from its role players. Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Cameron Payne are all scoring in double-figures this postseason. The Clippers also need to be wary of Deandre Ayton, who's averaging 15.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
If the Clippers are going to win Game 1, it'll be because of their depth. George will need to have a great game, but LA will also need guys like Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. to show up as well. If they deliver, the Clippers could very well be up 1-0 by the end of the night.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (0-0) at Phoenix Suns (0-0)
Date: Sunday, June 20
Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Venue: Phoenix Suns Arena
Spread: Suns -4
Moneyline: Clippers +144, Suns -172
Point Total: O/U 221
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook