Western Conference Finals Preview and Prediction
The Clippers have finally done it! Despite losing Kawhi Leonard in game 4, LA was able to win without their top player. They trailed 0-2 in the series vs Utah but turned it around to eliminate the top seed in the Western Conference. They now have the task of playing the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference final. Here is my prediction for the wild wild Western Conference Finals.
The Phoenix Suns made it look easy against Denver, averaging a margin of victory of over 15 points and swept them in the process. Everywhere you look they were impressive. They shot over 50 percent and had five players averaging in double digits in scoring. Of course, they were led by their young star Devin Booker, but Chris Paul was the x factor. And maybe, just maybe, he'll finally get a chance to play in that elusive NBA Finals.
The key for the Suns will be generating offence inside the paint. With Serge Ibaka and Kawhi Leonard out, Phoenix will have to take advantage. This means Deandre Ayton could (and should) get more touches. Also, Chris Paul is a wizard with the ball, and even though he will likely miss a few games because of COVID protocols, look for that connection to be a big part of their offence. Needless to say, Booker will also be heavily leaned on.
The Clippers surprised me, and so did Paul George. Did I forget how good he was? Before being dubbed Pandemic P, George was one of the best players in the NBA. Despite the flack the former Thunder has faced, he undeniably stepped up when the team needed him the most. They also got some help from the Mann himself to close out the series.. Terrence Mann that is. The youngster put up 39 in Game 6 in a weird turn of events.
Los Angeles are expected to be without Kawhi for the time being, so they’ll need secondary scoring. We've seen some good performances from their depth players (Mann for example), and even though George is reaching new heights this postseason, he won’t be able to push this team to the Finals alone. Batum, Jackson and Marcus Morris will all be needed if they want to get this franchise to their first ever Finals.
It's hard to predict this series because of the absence of Leonard and Paul. If Paul is out, I like the Clippers to win with or without Kawhi. But if Paul is good to go for the majority of this series, and Kawhi is unable to return then I'd bet on the Suns. Kawhi will be hard pressed to be a factor even if he does come back after suffering a serious injury. That being the case, I like the Suns in this series to head back to the NBA Finals for the first time since ‘93.
Suns in 6!