How All 4 Play-In Teams Matchup with Phoenix Suns in First Round Playoff

Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 5
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Potential First Round Opponent: Los Angeles Clippers

After losing Kawhi Leonard for the whole season and Paul George for about half, almost everyone ruled out the Los Angeles Clippers from making the playoffs. However, they stand only one win away from making it into the postseason for a fourth straight season as the eight seed.

Interestingly, the Clippers resemble one of the few teams this year to not lose their regular-season series vs the Suns, having gone 2-2 against them at this point.

The first game between these squads did not feature Booker, and Paul George missed all but one game against the Suns this year. Even the latest installment of this rivalry involved the Suns resting their entire starting five minus Bridges. But even with so many curveballs thrown into this regular season series, some takeaways still became visible by its conclusion.

Perhaps LA’s biggest strength lies around the perimeter, whey they possess several talented defensive wings able to slow down Paul and Booker in George, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, and Marcus Morris. Their five-out lineups were key last year in paving a road to the Western Conference Finals, and might give Phoenix trouble this year.

Some increased depth also makes the Clippers dangerous; it’s been huge in getting them this far already this season. LA possesses enough assets to throw several different lineup combinations at Phoenix, making themselves a chore to game plan against.

Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein provide meaningful size as bigs. All of those aforementioned wings possess significant talent at the offensive end as well. This team’s guard room also includes breakout stars from last year’s playoffs in Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann, along with new guy Norman Powell.

Thanks to their defense, coaching, and depth, the Clippers represent the toughest challenge for the Suns. Phoenix’s trump card in this potential series will be Ayton though, who dominated this same team in the playoffs last year.

George on the other hand obviously remains LA’s most lethal weapon, looking fully healthy now and able to go off at any time. However, the Suns have a better answer for him in Bridges than LA has for Ayton.

With that among other things, Phoenix will enter this series as the favorites, and deservedly so. However, it will not be an easy opening to the postseason for them by any means.

First Round Series Prediction: Suns in 5 or 6