On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns will square off against one another in an athletic contest on the floor.
The latest Injury Report for Suns – Clippers
Can the Suns achieve their postseason goals this season?
Phoenix is one step away from the second round of the playoffs, but there is still much at stake.
Phoenix possessed a dream backcourt with Chris Paul and Devin Booker, but the addition of Kevin Durant was the deciding factor in the Suns’ quest for their first NBA title.
Midway through the third quarter on Saturday, Devin Booker threw a sidearm pass across the court to the left corner before nonchalantly walking down the court, ready to defend.
The eye-level pass found a wide-open Kevin Durant, who settled in and hit what appeared to be an easy 3-pointer. Booker had a feeling something bad was going to happen.
The Phoenix Suns were down a point in Game 4 of their playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers when the ball was in the air. The Suns never trailed again after it splashed through the net.
Durant led the Suns to a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference playoff series with 31 points and 11 rebounds in 45 minutes on Saturday. The first chance to move to the second round comes on Tuesday, when the Suns return home to face the Clippers in Game 5.
Except for an ankle ailment suffered before his first home game with his new team, Durant’s February move from the Brooklyn Nets has been all the Suns hoped for.
Phoenix was 8-0 with Durant on the court during the regular season and has won three more times in four postseason games, including Saturday’s 112-100 victory.
Saturday, Booker added 30 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Paul tied it all up from the point guard position with 19 points and nine assists.
According to Gerald Bourguet of GoPHNX.com, Payne (back) is listed as probable for Game 5 against the Clippers on Tuesday.
Due to back pain, Payne was forced to skip Saturday’s game, but he is expected to play again Tuesday night.
He has yet to play in the series, but if he is given the green light, he may contribute important minutes off the bench behind Chris Paul.
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While the Suns appear to be on their way to the second round, where they will meet the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers’ path is less certain.
After creating second-round chances with a series opening triumph, those hopes have all but vanished.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kawhi Leonard missed his second consecutive game on Saturday due to a knee injury, the severity of which is unknown.
Leonard (knee) will miss Tuesday’s game against Phoenix.
Given Leonard‘s absence from practice on Monday, and the Clippers trailing the series 1-3, it’s possible we’ve seen the last of the star forward this season.
Norman Powell, Eric Gordon, and Nicolas Batum will continue to step in for him.
The injury reminds me of Leonard missing the final eight games of the 2021 playoffs due to a knee injury, and the Clippers being eliminated by the Suns.
He ultimately needed ACL surgery, which cost him the entire 2021-22 season.
Without Leonard and Paul George, who has been out with a knee injury but worked out before Monday’s practice, the Clippers have been competitive versus the Suns.
In Game 4, Los Angeles led 66-65 until Durant scored the game-winning 3-pointer with 5:19 remaining in the third quarter.