The Clippers find themselves in a very familiar spot. They dropped the first game of the series for the third consecutive time. LA will hope to avoid going down 2-0 for the third consecutive time as well. But then again, maybe that’s not an awful thing...
Kidding. I’d much prefer a Clippers win tonight.
When: Tuesday, June 22, 6:00 p.m. PT
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
How to watch/listen: ESPN
Opposing perspective: Bright Side of the Sun
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum
Suns: Mikel Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Cameron Payne
Clippers: Serge Ibaka (lower back), Kawhi Leonard (right knee) — OUT
Suns: Chris Paul (health and safety protocols) — OUT
The Clippers were gassed. They were on short rest. They had to travel and play a game in a different state about 36 hours following their come-from-behind victory over the Jazz. Through all of that, they still had a chance to win Game 1.
A lot went wrong for LA on Sunday, but they still found themselves down two points with 20 seconds remaining. Devin Booker had a 40-point triple-double, the first one of his entire career. If I were to bet, I’d bet the house he doesn’t have another one of those games.
It was a back-and-forth game between both teams throughout, but the Suns finally started to pull away midway through the fourth. As we’ve seen in the previous rounds, Ty Lue usually uses the first game of the series to feel things out before he ultimately makes the proper adjustments.
Obviously winning the first game would have been ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. If the Clippers can pick up a victory tonight, they’ll claim home-court advantage. The Clippers have won four consecutive games at Staples Center, so securing home-court would be huge.
LA had a chance to win the first game, and that’s all you can ask for. One quarter at a time, one play at a time and the Clippers will be fine. As I mentioned, a win gives the Clippers home-court advantage. A loss puts them down 0-2, but that might just be a good thing for them.