Three things to watch for in the Suns’ regular season finale against the Clippers

The Phoenix Suns face the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday in the final day of the NBA's regular season.

The Suns have wrapped up the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and will be resting guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul, forward Kevin Durant and center Deandre Ayton before postseason play.

Although Phoenix has secured homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, its first opponent is yet to be decided. If the Clippers beat the Suns Sunday, they will be the No. 5 seed and face Phoenix.

That is the simplest scenario. If Los Angeles loses, the Golden State Warriors could be the Suns' first-round opponent if they defeat the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday. Assuming the Clippers and Warriors each lose, the Suns' first-round opponent could be the New Orleans Pelicans if they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This game has no bearing on the Suns' spot in the postseason, but it is Fan Appreciation Day. Phoenix is also honoring legendary broadcaster Al McCoy in his final regular season game at halftime, so it would be encouraging for it to have a good effort.

Ahead of the Suns' final regular season game, here are three things to watch for.

Will the bench trouble the Clippers?

The Suns' effort in their 121-107 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday at Arena was very impressive.

Phoenix rested four of its starters but still held a one-point lead over the Lakers at halftime thanks to a competitive fight from its bench.

The Suns started Cam Payne, Landry Shamet, Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig and Bismack Biyombo in the game and held their own defensively. Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis shot a combined 5-of-18 from the field at one point, and Davis — who has been a matchup problem for the Suns in the past — was limited to just 4-of-12 shooting overall.

Phoenix will be without three regular bench players Sunday: Payne, who suffered a back injury in the first half against the Lakers; Biyombo, who suffered a right knee injury in a collision with Davis; and forward T.J. Warren, who is out with an undisclosed illness for the third straight game.

The Suns could start either Damion Lee or Saben Lee for Sunday's game. Not only are they shorthanded, the Suns will face several matchup problems against the Clippers, including against superstar forward Kawhi Leonard. Los Angeles' best player is averaging 30.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in three games this month.

Without Biyombo, Phoenix will also be thin at center and will have Jock Landale on Ivica Zubac, who is averaging a double-double this season.

The first quarter should tell how Sunday's game is going to go. The Clippers need to win in order to avoid a potential play-in situation, but if Phoenix gets off to a hot start, it could have a psychological edge and make it a competitive game.

What is Suns coach Monty Williams looking to accomplish?

Phoenix's game has no bearing on its postseason positioning, but it still should want to close the regular season strong.

The Suns' backup players could provide a strong effort and make this game competitive, which seemingly is all Williams can ask for. However, he has said in the past the team's rotation is fluid, so it is possible some players could prove themselves for postseason minutes.

Phoenix backup guard Terrence Ross has been impressive since he signed with the team after he was bought out by the Orlando Magic in February. He has averaged just 8.8 points overall in 20 games but had a 30-point and 24-point effort in that stretch. Known for his ability to heat up and make a lot of shots quickly, Ross — also known as ‘The Human Torch' — can provide optimism for Suns fans with an impressive performance Sunday.

Landale may be the most important player to watch. The Suns' backup center position may be a weakness in the postseason, along with their depth at point guard.

Biyombo is an effective shot-blocker and consistently provides a motor that benefits the Suns. However, he may not be as skilled as Landale, who has a potent low-post game and can stretch the floor. Landale also may have more versatility as a defender since he appears to be more coordinated.

If Landale can provide effective play in this game and in his playoff opportunities, he could be an important player for the Suns in what they hope will be a championship run.

Al McCoy's final regular-season game

A Suns legend will be honored Sunday.

McCoy, who has the longest run as a broadcaster with an NBA team (51 years), will hang up the headset at the conclusion of this season. McCoy will be honored at halftime by the Suns, who also handed out T-shirts to the first 5,000 fans Sunday for ‘Fan Appreciation Day.'

McCoy is a huge name in Arizona sports lore and is sure to receive a roaring ovation. It will also be an emotional moment for longtime Suns fans, who have listened to McCoy for several years or even grew up with his voice commentating over their favorite team.

Even though McCoy is 89 years old, he still has energy and flair for radio broadcasts on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. It would be a fulfilling moment for McCoy if the team wins a championship in his final season as a commentator.

Phoenix and Los Angeles will tip off at 12:30 p.m. PT at Footprint Center. Leezus Media will have more content after the game leading up to the Suns' postseason run, which begins next week.

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