Suns Predicted to Make ‘Quick’ Work of Clippers in 1st Round

Devin Booker guards Kawhi Leonard

Getty Devin Booker guards Kawhi Leonard

The Phoenix Suns have been predicted to make “quick” work of the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2023 playoffs.

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report believes the Suns will defeat the Clippers in six games since Los Angeles All-Star small forward Paul George is not expected to play due to a leg injury.

“With no George, this could be a quick series,” Swartz wrote on April 15. “Despite limited time together, the Suns have far more star power to make up for what they may lack in chemistry. Another injury-riddled Clippers season will come to a disappointing early end.”

The Suns have home-court advantage in the series. They have yet to lose with All-NBA swingman Kevin Durant in the lineup. KD averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting an incredible 57.0% from the field, 53.7% from beyond the arc and 83.3% from the free-throw line in eight regular-season games with Phoenix.

Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard Will Be Fun to Watch

Swartz is excited to watch Durant and Clippers star Kawhi Leonard go against each other. The two future Hall of Famers are two of the best players in the NBA.

“The meeting of two superstar forwards with a pair of titles and Finals MVPs each will be incredibly entertaining to watch,” Swartz wrote. “It also means one won’t make it out of the first round, with both suffering this early of an exit just three total times in 20 combined playoff trips. Leonard will need to win the individual battle for the Clippers to have a chance here, whereas Durant will face far fewer double teams with Booker and Ayton by his side.”

Leonard, 31, averaged 23.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists during the regular season. He played in 52 games after missing the entire 2021-22 campaign due to an ACL injury. Leonard and Durant have combined to win four titles and four Finals MVPs.

Kevin Durant Reveals Why He Wanted the Nets to Trade Him to the Suns

When Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, the Suns were his preferred landing spot. The two-time Finals MVP and one-time regular-season MVP explained to Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports why that was the case.

“It was just the chemistry, the camaraderie they built the last couple of years that was intriguing,” Durant said about the Suns. “But that is part of it. You got guys over here who love to play ball, who (have) gotten better over the years. I thought it would be a great team to build with.”

Durant, 34, also told Rohlin that he wants full control over his playing career.

“I want to dictate when I’m done,” Durant said. “I don’t want the league or injuries to dictate when I’m out the league … All the other stuff about proving and expectations and all that s—? I just want to keep hooping every day, enjoying myself. And when it’s time, I want to make that decision.”

Durant has career postseason averages of 29.4 points with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and Nets. Game 1 between the Suns and Clippers is on April 16.