The LA Clippers will welcome their old friend Chris Paul and his Phoenix Suns to Staples Center on Thursday, squaring off at 7 p.m.
The Suns have been one of the most improved teams in the league in comparison to last season. At 36-14, they’ve already surpassed last year’s win total of 34 wins, and have vaulted into true Western Conference contender status. Credit must be given to young players like Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges for making strides in the offseason, but no single player is more responsible for the Suns’ improvement than one Chris Paul. Phoenix carries a 7.9 net rating when Paul is on the floor, and he’s once again flirting with a 50/40/90 season, posting splits of 49.3%/37.2%/92.6% for the year. After pairing Paul with Devin Booker, the Suns now have at least one dynamic pick-and-roll guard that can create efficient offense on the court at all times.
This Clippers matchup will be the second half of a back-to-back for Phoenix, coming off of a tough overtime win against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. Though it’s only an hour flight from Phoenix to LA, the Suns will no-doubt be gassed coming into Thursday’s game. It is unclear if Head Coach Monty Williams will give any of his players the night off (particularly the 35-year-old Paul). Beyond that, the Suns have no major injuries to report.
For the Clippers, Serge Ibaka will miss yet another game with lower back tightness.
The Clippers won their first matchup with the Suns back in early January thanks in large part to Paul George, who went off for a season-high 39 points, hitting seven of his 10 three-point attempts. George dropped 36 in Tuesday night’s game against Portland, so perhaps the grove he’s in will carry over against Phoenix. He’ll also likely be tasked with guarding Booker for stretches.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (34-18) vs. Phoenix Suns (36-14)
Date: Thursday, April 8
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Venue: Staples Center
Broadcast Information: TNT
Spread: Clippers -6.5
Moneyline: Suns +200, Clippers -245
Point Total: O/U 221
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook