The heavily favored Phoenix Suns host the Los Angeles Clippers tonight in Game 5 of their opening round NBA playoff series. At BetOnline, the Suns are currently -12.5 point favorites and -800 on the moneyline. The total is 224.5. Phoenix leads the series 3-1 and a victory tonight would propel them into the Western Conference semi-finals.
Why is the point spread so high?
Well, you’ve no doubt heard that LA is shorthanded. The fine men and women who set the lines, read and listen to the same sources.
The Clips’ knew going into the series against the Suns that Paul George (knee) wouldn’t play in the series. Now comes word that Kahwi Leonard will miss his third straight playoff game because of a knee injury.
It’s worth noting that both players are signed through 2025. It’s worth mentioning that when healthy, these two players can carry a team.
Therein lies the problem. Very seldom are they healthy and it’s rare when they’re healthy at the same time. Consider this tweet:
— Ray Moose (@Lasix40mgIV) April 25, 2023
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is one of the richest men in the world. He has no problem writing a check(s) for $484 million. Still it must hurt.
Painful reminder of past injuries
The injury has brought back memories of the 2021 playoffs, when Leonard missed the last eight games with a knee injury and the Clippers were eliminated by the Suns. He ended up needing ACL surgery that cost him the entire 2021-22 campaign.
Is he really hurt or is this the Clippers load management:
Leonard and the Clippers have been conservative with his playing time all season long in hopes of keeping him healthy and at his best for the postseason. Sadly, things aren’t going to plan for Kawhi and the Clips.
While Leonard himself was great during his two games against the Suns (34.5 ppg.), he has missed the last two games with a knee injury. Amid accusations of load management and some in the media questioning his commitment to playing, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue shot down all the narratives in a Tuesday press conference:
Tyronn Lue on Kawhi Leonard:
“He’s definitely hurt. It’s not load management where he’s taking time off. He’s shown in his past that he’s played through injuries in the playoffs. If it’s something he can’t play through, then it has to be pretty serious.”pic.twitter.com/kxz52caOcK
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) April 24, 2023
Was Kahwi a bad investment?
The truth is when it comes to the NBA, Los Angeles was, is and always will be the Lakers town. Give Ballmer credit for trying to turn that around. Butt at least one national sports talk host thinks it’s time for the Clippers owner to cut his losses:
“I applaud the big swing by the Clippers… But don’t double down on it.”
— @ColinCowherd says why it’s time to move off Kawhi Leonard pic.twitter.com/lCZ4phSeI7
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 24, 2023