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Torrey Craig to start over Josh Okogie in Game 1 for Suns

A change in the lineup for the Suns’ playoff opener

Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images

Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig will be the team’s fifth starter for its first game of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon.

Craig will start in place of wing Josh Okogie, who started the Suns’ last 25 games of the regular season.

Suns coach Monty Williams did not talk about a potential change to the lineup in his pregame press conference but said previously the team’s fifth starter could change based on matchups. Los Angeles has wings Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum in its starting lineup for Sunday’s game, which likely prompted the change.

Craig has a lengthy wingspan and is a capable defender for the Clippers’ wings. He can also guard multiple positions and could be in lineups in which the Suns go small.

Okogie is a little more limited since he is listed at 6-foot-4. He has great balance to cut off defenders due to his lower body strength and motor, but Craig is more capable from a physical standpoint.

Okogie started in the Suns’ 119-114 win over the Clippers last Sunday in the regular season finale for both teams and had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists. Craig made a 3-pointer in the game and had two rebounds in six minutes.

Expect the Suns’ rotation to change Sunday and perhaps more in the postseason. Phoenix will be without backup guard Cam Payne due to a lower back injury, which could force more playing time from backup guards Landry Shamet and Damion Lee, among others.

Stay tuned to Bright Side of the Sun for more pregame coverage. The Suns and Clippers will tip off at 5 p.m. PT on TNT.

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