Anyone feel good about that win? Probably not. The Suns locker room certainly wasn't a jubilant, happy place. This team acted like they understood very well that the way they played tonight, especially on the defensive end, isn't good enough to beat many teams.
The Clippers are talented but young team and they played the night before. Even so, they closed a 25 point first quarter lead down to within 4 points in the third quarter. The Clips out-scored the Suns 27-18 in the fourth -- that's winning time and the Suns held on but didn't feel good about it.
"We had opportunities to step on them in the second quarter and we just didn't do it," Steve Nash said.
On the positive side of things, Jason Richardson shot the ball very well tonight, 12-19 and 5-8 from three which gave him 29 points. Channing Frye's defense and overall level of play continues to improve. He's scoring inside more and playing with energy and effort in the paint. He finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds but those numbers don't do justice to what he has been giving the team this season.
Hedo Turkoglu only played 15 minutes and didn't score. He was frustrated with picking up two quick fouls and then sitting for a long time and not being able to get into the flow of the game. When he did get back in he picked up two more. He mostly blamed himself for the fouls and seemed disappointed that he wasn't able to help the team more.
Nash (15 pts, 10 ast, 5 reb) and Grant Hill (12 points, 5 ast, 5 reb) were their usual solid, veteran selves and Warrick continues to be very impressive off the bench. He finished with 25 points and 6 rebounds and most importantly he got to the free throw line and hit 13 of 14.
Here's a lot more from Nash, Childress and Dudley talking about why the bench unit is struggling and what they can do about it:
Phoenix Suns Bench Unit Not Getting It Done, And They Know It - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
Their sub-par play has shown up in the blown leads over the last two games against the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers. In both games the Suns had tremendous first quarters only to see the bench come in and let the lead slip away which gave their opponents confidence that they could get back in the games.
The point there being, the Suns are small and have disadvantages. They can't afford not to have their bench bringing the hustle to each game. They seem to be down on themselves and in a slump. They need to get out of it.
Post game audio:
Steve Nash talking about Dragic and what he's seeing and telling his young understudy.
"I think sometimes he gets caught not taking care of little details and it puts him in a bad position so I try to talk to him in that respect. I think he's one of our best players so it's going to be good when he fights through this; he'll be better for it and make our team a lot better."
SNB AZ Recap:
Phoenix Suns Not Impressive In Win Over Los Angeles Clippers, 116-108 - SB Nation Arizona
Fortunately, the Clippers were not nearly as good as the Chicago Bulls and couldn't take advantage of the Suns lapse and in the end Phoenix won the game 116-108. It was still a disappointing loss for the Suns who should have been able to put a tired three-win team away but couldn't.
- Clippers first attack they go at Frye in the pain with Jordan. It worked
- Suns getting wide open looks in the paint by moving without the ball. Clips defense horrible
- JRich all 9 Suns points. Timeout Clips
- Not really sure why the Clips aren't running plays for Blake (yet)
- Clips try and post up Blake on Frye. Hill blitzes and forces the turnover. They are not going to give Blake space
- Blake posts up Hedo and turns baseline before help can come
- 2nd foul on Hedo. Tough call. Warrick in
- JRich w/ another three
- Another fast break layup for Suns off turnover off double team on Blake. 24-8
- Clips 5 turnovers. Suns 0
- Thinking I might have my first half time ice cream tonight
- Ducks up 20-19 on UofA. No way the Wildcats win this game
- Another three for JRich. 29-10
- JRich missed an open three in transition. That's news. He's now 3-4 from three
- Clippers have their heads down. Suns bench needs to blow this game open...33-13 with 3:00 to go in the 1st so I guess it's already blown open. Still, they need to blow it more. Dragic about to check in
- Brian Cook is in the game...I guess Jarron Collins is worse option?
- 42-19. Earl Clark time yet?
- Would it be a jinx if I start writing my recap now?
- Earl Time!! Barron that is
- Oregon Ducks up 27-19. Only a matter of time
- There you go, Earl. Nice hustle play from the big guy to retain possession
- Suns taking advantage of Clips switching. Run a quick screen to create the mismatch and then attack the post. That time was Josh Childress on a smaller guard
- Good decision by Dudley to not force anything on the drive and then let Goran drive and kick back to him for the open corner three
- 49-29, 8:22
- Not thrilled w/ defensive intensity by Suns bench. Gomes getting wide open looks and nailing them. Cook as well
- Earl Barron is not a very physical player. Would like to see him bump guys coming through the lane much harder. He's just giving them love taps
- 34-22, Oregon
- Blake back in, scores right over Warrick
- Suns going w/ small line up. Hedo, Warrick, Josh, Dudley, Dragic
- 53-36, 5:59
- Warrick doing his thing in the post. I have to say that he's been far better than I expected. More consistent and more of an inside player than advertised. He plays hard and tougher than his size indicates
- Gentry leaving Dragic on the court w/ the starters as he said he would
- Nash coming back in now w/ 3:20. 59-45. Suns offense has been fine, defense has let up
- 4 pts, 8 reb for Blake. Clips 4-9 from three and shooting 55% from the field. Suns 6-11 from three and 53.8% from the field. DEFENSE
- JRich torched Gomes on that back cut to the rim
- Blake w/ the face up bank shot ala Tim Duncan. Went to the bank a second time but was denied
- Dragic -8 in his 10:34 stint. Wanted to see that unit do more, especially on D
- Sick, Blake. Sick
- Clips move the ball around and end up with a Gomes 17 foot turn around fadeaway
- Suns starters playing better D than the bench. I think we have to start talking more about Channing Frye's defense
- 67-51, half. Ice cream time. brb
- 52.% shooting for the Clips. That's not acceptable. They were 8-19 in the 1st qtr and 13-21 in the 2nd.
- Good news, the Clips only had 1 OReb and 24 points in the paint
- 67-57. Way to blow the lead. Ugh
- Nice. Dude just won $7,777 by hitting a three-point shot!
- You can see the Clippers confidence increasing...damn it
- Second time out for Gentry in the quarter. 73-66. He's pissed. Me too
- Kiss Cam
- Frye turned down an open three which lead to a 24 sec violation. Clips hit a three in response. Lead down to 4
- Who is Willie Warren and why does he have 5 points in this game?
- Clips not attacking the offensive glass at all. They just shoot and retreat
- Nice job by Warrick attacking Gordon in the post and getting past the help defense as well
- Frye's three puts Suns back up 14
- Nash's three puts Suns back up 17. That was fast
- Damn, Cook is on fire tonight. That one at least was contested
- JRich misses at least one easy layup per game. I think it's in his contract
- Suns back up 18, 98-80. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal - blowing a big lead and then getting it back - but the way the Suns have been playing they really needed to stomp on the Clips throats early when they had then on the ropes
- I am not sure there's any one person to blame, but in general the bench is lacking that energetic spark. More minutes? Tired from this stretch of schedule - 8th game in 14 days? Whatever it is, it's not pretty.
- Cook now has 16 points. That really shouldn't happen
- Earl Barron in and misses an open 17fter. That's his shot though, has to take it. He's got the Blake Griffin assignment
- 98-84, 10:42
- Good job by Goran to get the ball to Channing in the post on the switch
- Nice cut by Goran and nice pass from Warrick
- Better job by the bench this time. Not great, but better
- Goran looks tired, but still attacking aggressively and getting hammered. Missed another two FTs though
- Can't leave Frye on an island against Griffin in the post
- Crowd gives Suns a hand for two OReb in a row
- Warrick tries to dunk on Griffin but he would have none of that. Met him at the rim with an rejection
- Time out Suns, 106-96. 4:52. Nash, Hill and JRich surely coming back in now. Clips have had their big guns on the floor all quarter. They are young but they have to be getting tired
- Childress really isn't giving the team much right now. 15 min, 0 points, 2 reb. Dudley better but not much - 9 pts, 1 reb, 22 min. Dragic 18 min, 9 pts, 4 ast, 5 reb. Suns - 15 with him on the floor
- Nash air balled a three w/ Blake backed off him giving space but Suns make two hustle plays to get extra possessions...scratch that, 24 sec violation but effort was nice
- Brian Cook fouled out! Never thought I would be happy to say that.
- Nice D by Frye on Griffin that time. Suns up 110-99, 2:23
- Warrick takes a beating in the paint. Literally, people just beat on him like a drum
- Well, that's one way to stop Blake. Bear hug on the catch. Effective, but not sustainable
- Gordon rams into Hill, send him flying and draws the foul. That kid is strong
- 24 sec violation as Nash dancing around in the paint too long. Poor clock awareness, Scott Howard says in my head
- 112-103, 1:20
- Fake noise FTW!
- Gordon hits a wide open three
- Frye hits a two. Game over