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Clippers @ Suns Game 2 Predictions: Take hot Suns to keep rolling

Back Ayton to be pivotal for Suns success
Back Ayton to be pivotal for Suns success
By Zachary Rainey

After Phoenix took Game 1, Zach Rainey provides insight on what you should have your eye on for Game 2...

We’re drawing close to the end, folks.

Tonight, we have Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns (-5).

As a lot of you know, I’ve been on the Suns since the outset of these playoffs, and have the “Suns to win the West +600” ticket to prove it from before the series against the Los Angeles Lakers. I had the feeling that, if they could just get past LeBron James and the Lakers, they were the real deal and had a chance to win the conference.

With top-seeded Utah out after the Los Angeles Clippers defeated them beyond all odds, I love the Suns chances.

They took a win in Game 1 on Fathers Day 120-114.

I’ve seen a lot of people taking the Clippers in Game 2. The line opened at Phoenix -6, but has since moved to -5. Unless they know something about Kawhi Leonard that I don’t, I don’t see much changing in Game 2.

The final score looked closer than it was. The Suns were up 10 before Rajon Rondo, a career 32 percent 3-point shooter, drilled two in a row to cut the lead to four in the blink of an eye. If you go and look, there was nobody within about 10 feet of Rondo. Monty Williams and the Suns clearly had the mindset of “if Rondo shoots 100 percent from three, so be it,” so I’m not putting a lot of stock into that.

They also were able to get an unexpected 11 point lift from Demarcus Cousins in the second quarter after not playing at all in the Utah series. The Clippers are running a small-ball lineup with Marcus Morris at the five, but they were torched inside by Deandre Ayton to the tune of 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half. The fact that Ty Lue went to Cousins first off the bench before Ivica Zubac looked like a genius move for the first few minutes, but it didn’t slow down Ayton at all. I think those Cousins minutes were fool’s gold and shouldn’t rely on that for Game 2.

Unlike in the last series when Utah center Rudy Gobert wasn’t really a threat to score, Ayton has been rolling in these playoffs. Especially without Chris Paul, I expect the Suns to keep going to Ayton until LA proves they have an answer for Ayton.

Only problem for LA is even when they bring Zubac on as a more favorable matchup, Devin Booker is able to get that lethal mid-range jumper off once in the pick-and-roll with him.

Paul George has proven me wrong time and time again in these playoffs, so my hat is off to him. But the way I see it, the only way the Clippers take Game 2 in a packed Phoenix Suns Arena is if Terance Mann get another one of those explosive games like he did to eliminate Utah. And even then, you’re banking on a 20-plus point game from Reggie Jackson as well.

Mark me down for Suns -5.

For our prop of the night, surprise surprise, I’m looking at Ayton props. I like him for over 10.5 rebounds tonight. You can find over 10.5 at +105 at BetMGM, -100 at PointsBet, and over 9.5 at -125 at 888Sport, BetRivers and Unibet.

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