The Los Angeles Clippers suffered a devastating Game 3 loss to the Phoenix Suns and now look ahead to a pivotal Game 4 matchup in order to avoid going down 3-1 in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. They will be without Paul George again, and Kawhi Leonard is uncertain for the contest. Both Leonard and George were out in Game 3, although the Clippers still put forth a valiant effort.
The Suns won the game 129-124 behind a monster performance from Devin Booker; the Suns star had 45 points on an extremely efficient 18/29 from the field. Along with Booker, Kevin Durant poured in 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and DeAndre Ayton had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Without George and Leonard, the Clippers were led by 30 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds on 11/23 shooting from Russell Westbrook, and 42 points from Norman Powell, who shot a scorching hot 7/12 from beyond the arc. Los Angeles also got a solid performance off the bench from Bones Hyland, as he contributed 20 points of his own. Still, the effort fell short, as the duo of Booker and Durant proved too much for the Clippers.
With Game 4 on the horizon, the Clippers will have their hands full if they are going to be without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George again. Regardless, here are three bold predictions for the Clippers in Game 4 vs. the Suns.
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Los Angeles Clippers’ Norman Powell goes off again
Norman Powell had one of the best games of his career in Game 3 vs. the Suns. Besides the aforementioned hot shooting from beyond the arc, he showed the ability to score on all three levels of the defense. He was quick with his decision making, and he showed the resiliency that a short-handed team like the Clippers need. Teams led by Tyronn Lue always play hard and show up, and Norman Powell did that in Game 3. He will do the same in Game 4.
Powell is going to go off like he did in Game 3 not just because he can, but because he needs to. They won’t have Paul George, and it looks unlikely as of now that Leonard plays. Without those two, Powell becomes a primary scorer for the Clippers, and he will be well up to the task. He dueled back and forth with Devin Booker in Game 3, looking the part against one of the elite scorers in today’s game. Expect Norman Powell to do more of the same in Game 4 vs. the Suns.
Russell Westbrook has triple-double vs. the Phoenix Suns
Russell Westbrook had a signature performance in almost leading the Clippers to a Game 3 win. Coming close to a triple-double is no surprise when Westbrook is given the minutes, as he has shown that it is not him stat-padding, but just his style of play. Although he was so close, he fell two rebounds shy, and the Clippers consequently lost. Knowing that, Westbrook is going to play even harder in Game 4 and finish with a triple-double.
A triple-double will not guarantee a Clippers win, but it should improve their chances. Westbrook is playing like his prime Oklahoma City Thunder days, and he will have to continue doing so if Los Angeles wants to even the series. The Clippers will rely on him all game long, especially if Leonard can’t go, and he will secure those added rebounds this time. In Game 4, Russell Westbrook will post a triple-double against the Phoenix Suns.
Clippers win with or without Kawhi Leonard
The Los Angeles Clippers are going to beat the Phoenix Suns and even the series. Furthermore, they are going to get their first home win of the 2023 NBA Playoffs with, or without, Kawhi Leonard. Of course, they would take Leonard’s services ten times out of ten, but that might not be a possibility as he nurses a knee sprain. In the end, it will prove irrelevant, as the coaching prowess of Lue will energize his team to shock the Phoenix Suns.
The Clippers understand that if they go down 3-1, the chances of them coming back and winning the series decrease dramatically. They would have to win two out of the next three games in Phoenix, starting with a home game for the Suns in Game 5. If Leonard can’t go, they will want to ensure they give him as much time as possible to return in this series. A win in Game 4 would guarantee at least two more matchups in this series, thus two more opportunities for both Leonard and Paul George to return. This will be motivation enough to propel the Los Angeles Clippers towards a win in Game 4 of their first round NBA Playoffs series vs. the Suns.
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