Suns @ Clippers Game 6: Take Suns to close series
With the Clippers backs against the wall, with they force a Game 7 or will Phoenix close things out...?
Despite the absence of Ivica Zubac, the Los Angeles Clippers seemingly had no problem with the Phoenix Suns Monday evening, when they pulled out the away victory 116-102.
As he has been since Kawhi Leonard went down, Paul George was the story in this one, scoring 41 points on an astounding 15-of-20 shooting from the field.
From my point of view, it’s been a pretty weird series. Yes, PG had 41, but his high-scoring performances don’t come as a surprise anymore. The surprise was in his efficiency.
The other big story was how his teammates stepped up. Reggie Jackson scored 23 points in Game 5. Jackson has essentially stepped into Paul George’s previous role and is averaging 21.8 points per game while shooting 37 percent from the three.
But even with Jackson, someone had to step up into the No. 2 role, and I am surprised to see this from Jackson, but someone needed to score the points. Detroit Pistons fans are watching this feeling a mix of anger and confirmation that they knew Jackson was good, but angry he wasn’t this good for them.
What won the game in my mind was the play of Marcus Morris and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins had a good Game 1 in this series when he scored 11 points in the second quarter, but hadn’t been seeing quality playing time since. That changed with Zubac out and he delivered with 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting.
Even with Cousins’ performance, it came down to Morris scoring 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Morris seems to always be the team’s wild card. He could score eight and nobody would be surprised, or he could score 20 and people also wouldn’t be surprised.
What the Suns were missing in that Game 5 was Deandre Ayton. He scored 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but he was averaging 20 points and 13.5 rebounds going into that game. This game proved that both Devin Booker, who scored 31, and Chris Paul, who scored 22, can have good games and still lose. They’ll also look for a better game from Mikal Bridges, who scored just five points.
All that being said, I still like the Suns tonight. The clippers had everything right going for them in Zubac’s absence, but I’m essentially gambling on the fact that Cousins and Morris will fall back to earth and not combine for 37 again.
I also think Monty Williams recognized how different his offense looked when they weren’t playing through Ayton. He’s been their bread and butter in these playoffs and I’ve been saying that since the Denver series.
I’m on Phoenix -1 tonight while also putting half a unit on the under 215.
For our prop of the night, I’m going to take Morris over 1.5 threes. He’ll be feeling himself after last game and I think with their small lineups attempting to pull Ayton away from the hoop on defense, Morris will be the center int hose situations and be in position for a few pick-and-pop threes.