The Phoenix Suns are all set to host the Los Angeles Clippers for Game 1 of their postseason run. Unlike this year, Phoenix had an extremely strong season last year but were booted out of the playoffs in the second round. They had a fairly decent season this year, finishing as the fourth seed with 45 wins and 37 losses. Most of those losses were accumulated while Devin Booker was recovering from an injury.
Devin Booker is undefeated (6-0) in Game 1’s in his career pic.twitter.com/eeUiVgr9IW
— Isaac ☀️ (45-37)(7-8) (@mikalbridge) April 15, 2023
The Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand, could potentially rise as underdogs. Their lineup now consists of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook. All three were former MVP candidates and have great potential on a team like the Clippers. They finished fifth in the West, just one game below Phoenix. Westbrook’s addition to the roster has been absolutely essential and it is securing crucial wins.
Kevin Durant will start for the Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Clippers game tonight
The Phoenix Suns are looking forward to extending their win streak with Kevin Durant in the starting lineup. KD was acquired in February, sending their defensive centerpiece Mikal Bridges and three-point marksman Cam Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. The 2x NBA Champion has had an incredible season so far, averaging 50, 40, and 90 shooting percentages. LA will not start Paul George this time due to a knee injury. Here are the injury reports and expected lineups for the game.
ALWAYS ON TARGET 🎯
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 15, 2023
Phoenix Suns Injury Report
• Cameron Payne (Questionable)
Phoenix Suns Expected Lineup
• Chris Paul
• Devin Booker
• Josh Okogie
• Kevin Durant
• Deandre Ayton
Los Angeles Clippers Injury Report
• Paul George (Out)
Los Angeles Clippers Expected Lineup
• Russell Westbrook
• Eric Gordon
• Kawhi Leonard
• Nicolas Batum
• Ivica Zubac
Playoff Kawhi activated pic.twitter.com/VtabGb4abZ
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 14, 2023
The Suns also have a slight setback without Payne on their roster for Game 1. The point guard has been a lethal weapon from three, averaging 36.8% and 41.5% from the field. Both teams had two wins against each other in the regular season series. Phoenix has an all-time winning record against the Clippers with 136 wins to 98. The last time they met in the playoffs was in 2021 during the Western Conference Finals. The Suns won in six games.
Will Kevin Durant take the Suns all the way through the series against the Clippers?
Kevin Durant is a key player for the Suns. Game 1 will be very exciting to watch as Phoenix has home court advantage as well. They are undefeated with KD on the court. He has averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 since joining the Suns in February. Devin Booker will most likely lead them offensively as he averaged 27.8 points per game, the most in Suns regular season history.
With Paul George out for an indefinite amount of time, Kawhi Leonard will be their key player. He averaged 23.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. In his last playoff appearance, he put up 30.4 points per game and if this gets carried on this time, the Suns are in trouble. Either way, Phoenix is still expected to win the matchup and ultimately this series.