It’s getting to be a pattern at this point, but the LA Clippers enter yet another series in the 2021 NBA Playoffs down 2-1 and aiming to get back on level terms. This third time around, it’s against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals for Game 4, and they’ll look to win their latest must-win game in a postseason filled with them.
When: Saturday, June 26, 6:00 p.m. PT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
How to watch/listen: ESPN
Opposing perspective: Bright Side of the Sun
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Patrick Beverley
Suns: Mikel Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul
Clippers: Serge Ibaka (lower back), Kawhi Leonard (right knee) — OUT; Marcus Morris Sr. — QUESTIONABLE
Suns: Abdel Nader (knee) — QUESTIONABLE; Cameron Payne (ankle) — PROBABLE
The Clippers are fresh off a rousing Game 3 win on Thursday, and while the concerns about attrition and sheer minutes played in a compact amount of time have not abated, LA has been up for the challenge thus far.
The good news is the Clippers raised their level at Staples Center in Game 3, and the team defense in particular was outstanding, possibly their best collective performance of the playoffs to date. Having said that, Chris Paul and Devin Booker shot terribly in that game, and can the Clippers bank on that happening two games in a row? It would be nice if no Suns player got on a heater again, and perhaps Booker will still struggle to adjust to wearing a protective mask, but you can’t exactly count on the scorers to stay quiet, and so the Clippers may have to raise their defense even more.
There’s also the concern about Marcus Morris Sr., who was limited in Game 3 but still made some huge plays for the Clippers. He will be a game time decision as his knee continues to bother him, and while the Clippers have rolled with the absences so far, losing another starter will make things that much harder for LA, if it happens.
But one of the silver linings for the Clippers is they’ve managed to call upon a plethora of players during the season, and those reps of getting the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th men key minutes at times during the regular season means you never know who may play the hero this time around. If the Clippers get the needed win, they won’t care who the hero is, as long as there is one.