The NBA Conference Finals continue this week with games on every day. Here, we run you through our previews and best bets for the games taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Good luck to everyone following!
PHX Arena, Tuesday 11am AEST
We predicted a low-scoring slugfest in Game 4 of this Western Conference Finals series and boy did we get it. The Suns and the Clippers combined for just 164 points in the Suns 84-80 win, which was a total that fell more than 50 points short of the line. The Suns now lead the series 3-1 and are just one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals.
After coming off a Game 3 performance where the Suns star backcourt duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker combined for 10-40 from the field, it was safe to assume they would bounce back in Game 4, although that wasn’t the case as they combined for 18-44. For the Clippers, Paul George struggled once again with just five of his 20 shots falling and he also missed a couple of critical free throws in the dying stages of the fourth quarter, which is unfortunately becoming a bit of a theme.
The Suns have had control of this series since taking care of business in Phoenix in Games 1 and 2 and now have a chance to close it out in Game 5 back on their home deck. Once again, it’s expected that Kawhi Leonard will miss with a knee injury, which will make it extremely difficult for the Clippers to secure a win in front of the raucous crowd in Phoenix that have been starved of success for a decade. We have the Suns covering the small spread at home and closing out the series in the process.
Chris Paul has certainly shown some rust with his jump shot after missing two weeks due to the health and safety protocols, however, he returns to Phoenix for the first time this series and will be looking to takeover and help his team close out the series. We expect CP3 to take 15+ shots and to drop at least 20 points in such a pivotal game.
State Farm Arena, Wednesday 10:30am AEST
After taking the initiative on the road in Game 1, the Hawks were obliterated by a ferocious Bucks team in Game 2 before the series headed to Atlanta. Once again, the Hawks looked like taking the lead in the series when they got the jump on the Bucks early in Game 3, but a fourth quarter masterclass from Khris Middleton ensured that the #3 seed Bucks took their first lead in the series at 2-1.
The Bucks two All-Stars in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton both put in outstanding shifts in Game 3, in fact the latter outscored the entire Hawks team by himself I the fourth quarter to end the game with 38 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. On the other hand, Trae Young tried his best with 35 points but had little help besides Danilo Gallinari who was important with 18 points.
After losing the first one at home and going down 2-1, the Hawks will now be in desperation mode to avoid heading back to Milwaukee down 3-1. Although they ended up losing by 11 points in Game 3, there’s still plenty of upside as long as they can stay out of foul trouble and take care of the ball. The Bucks haven’t proven themselves to be absolute clutch killers in this league, so we give the Hawks a great chance to at least cover the spread at home in Game 4.
Trae Young was able to make some adjustments to his game after a lacklustre Game 2 where he scored just 15 points on 6-16 shooting. He found his stroke from beyond-the-arc in Game 3 with six three-pointers on his way to 35 points. In such a pivotal game for his team on Wednesday, we expect him to be ultra-aggressive as he looks to guide his team to a crucial victory.
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