The 2021 NBA Playoffs have advanced to the semifinals and the Western Conference Finals matchup is set. The No. 2 seed Phoenix Suns will face the No. 4 seed Los Angeles Clippers. The series tips off on Sunday, June 20 in Phoenix.
Injuries have figured prominently in the playoff picture for both teams. The Suns got a boost in the first round when the Lakers lost Anthony Davis to a groin injury. Although Phoenix was the higher seed, they were underdogs much of the series, but advance in six games. They followed that with a sweep of the Nuggets in the second round, but lost Chris Paul to a positive COVID-19 test in spite of having been vaccinated earlier this year. Given his vaccination status, he could return sooner than would be required had he been unvaccinated.
The Clippers outlast the Mavericks in the first round, beating them in seven games. They came back from a 2-0 deficit to the top-seeded Jazz in the second round to advance, but it came at a cost. Start Kawhi Leonard injured his knee in Game 4 of that series, and it is feared he has a torn ACL. He figures to be out for the remainder of the playoffs.
These two squads met three times during the regular season. The Clippers took two of three, although the first win came after nearly blowing a 31-point lead. The Suns’ lone win was the day they clinched a playoff berth. Paul George led the Clippers in scoring in both their wins with 39 and 33 points, while Chris Paul had 28 points and 10 assists in Phoenix’s win.
Here we’ll be tracking everything you need to know for the Suns-Clippers series, including picks, injuries and the schedule. Below is the complete schedule for the 2021 Western Conference Finals
Game 1 recap: Suns 120, Clippers 114
The Suns were without Chris Paul. The Clippers without Kawhi Leonard. With two superstars out, it was a different atmosphere to open the Western Conference Finals. Devin Booker stole the show from Paul George. Book finished with a 40-point triple-double while PG-13 had 34 points for the Clippers in the loss.
CP3 is still in health and safety protocols but the Suns gave him a 1-0 series lead to come back to (if that is the case). Cameron Payne had 11 points and 9 assists starting in place of Paul. LA was exposed a bit by its aging rotation with DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Nicolas Batum and Patrick Beverley all having to contribute. Marcus Morris (knee) was forced to leave in the first half and was available to return, but only played 21 minutes and went 3-of-11 from the field.
Game 2: Clippers @ Suns, Tue June 22, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 3: Suns @ Clippers, Thu June 24, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 4: Suns @ Clippers, Sat June 26, 9 p.m., ESPN
Game 5 (if needed): Clippers @ Suns, Mon June 28, 9 p.m., TBD
Game 6 (if needed): Suns @ Clippers, Wed June 30, 9 p.m., TBD
Game 7 (if needed): Clippers @ Suns, Fri July 2, 9 p.m., TBD