NBA: Suns drop hard-fought game against Clippers
The Clippers (42-20) extended their winning streak to five games after defeating the Phoenix Suns (35-25) by a final score of 104-96.
The Suns used an 11-2 run at the end of the first quarter to take a 25-24 lead heading into the second quarter. Phoenix came out red-hot in the second, outscoring LA 30-20, taking a 55-44 lead into the locker room.
Whatever it was that Clippers coach Doc Rivers said to his team in the intermission worked as the Clips completely outplayed the Suns in the third on both sides of the ball and led Phoenix 81-73 going into the fourth.
At one point in the final frame the Clippers led 90-75. Phoenix charged back with an 11-0 run to cut LA’s lead to four points, but couldn’t muster up enough energy to fight all the way back. LA put the game out of reach late behind clutch free throws from DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin (22 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds), and Chris Paul.
Matt Barnes carried the Clippers to victory, scoring 28 points (12-17 FG, 4-7 3pt), while Jordan had a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding and improved his average rebounds per game to 13.9. Paul had an “off-night” in terms of how he usually plays, finishing with 14 points (4-14 FG), 9 assists, and 5 turnovers.
PJ Tucker seemed to be the only Suns player to be able to tickle the twine in the game, being the only starter to shoot over 50% from the field. Tucker had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his 9th double-double of the season.
Rookie Alex Len started for the first time in his career as Miles Plumlee (knee) was a late scratch from the game. Len played well and had 6 points and 6 rebounds in just 19 minutes.
Danny Granger made his Clippers debut tonight. He played 4 minutes, missed his only shot attempt, and grabbed one rebound.
The Suns bench outscored the Clippers bench 37-12, dropping to 17-7 at home this season when their own bench outscores the opponents bench.
Phoenix will look to turn things around on Thursday night when they will host Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You can reach Brendan Kennealy via email at Brendan.firstname.lastname@example.org and/or via Twitter at @brendankennealy