Clippers-Suns Western Conference finals preview capsule
Preview capsule for the Phoenix-LA Clippers Western Conference Finals series that starts Sunday:
No. 2 PHOENIX SUNS (51-21, 8-2) vs. No. 4 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (47-25, 8-5)
Season series: Clippers, 2-1.
Schedule: Sunday and Tuesday at Phoenix, Thursday and Saturday at Los Angeles, June 28 at Phoenix if necessary, June 30 at Los Angeles if necessary, July 2 at Phoenix if necessary.
Storyline: The Suns are seeking their first NBA Finals trip since 1993, the Clippers their first in franchise history. Phoenix has been preparing this week without All-NBA point guard Chris Paul (health and safety protocols) and the Clippers haven’t said yet if they expect All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard — who hurt his knee against Utah — to be back in this series. The irony is thick, in that the Clippers and Paul spent six years together and now one will make the finals without the other.
Key matchup: Phoenix’s Devin Booker vs. the Clippers’ Paul George. The Clippers just couldn’t guard Booker in the three regular-season games; they fouled him 11 times in a Jan. 3 matchup and 26 times total in the series. And while they’ll talk about Terence Mann’s Game 6 explosion against Utah for years, the Clippers know that George will have to be elite if he — and they — are going to get to the NBA Finals for the first time.
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