Suns lose to Clippers 117-99

20121208_gav_sv5_002

Recap:

In atypical fashion, the Suns bolted out to a quick 9-2 lead. The Clippers regained their composure and took the lead back from the Suns, pushing it to as much as five (24-19) behind several hoops in succession from Blake Griffin (who scored a game high 12 in the quarter). A bookend 12-4 run by the Suns to close the first quarter gave the Suns a 31-28 lead at the end of one. The new starting lineup including Jared Dudley in the place of Michael Beasley got out of the gate much better and seemed more fluid on the court.

The Suns and Clippers played a very competitive second quarter. A rare perfervid performance by Michael Beasley in his new role off the bench was the most coruscating component of the quarter. He finished the first half with 18 points (on 6-8 shooting), 4 rebounds and 3 assists. It was easily his best half of basketball as a Sun. The Clippers went into halftime with the lead, though, at 63-57 behind the play of Griffin (18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) and Chris Paul (12 points, 8 assists).

The Suns besieged defense found little in the way of relief as they capitulated to the tune of 63 points on 49% shooting for the Clippers. The Suns own offensive explosion kept them in the game, but turnovers (12) and offensive rebounds (12 for the Clippers) undermined one of the best offensive performances for a half by the Suns this season.

Morris came out strong in the third period with 11 points and helped keep the Suns close. Brown also continued a strong performance, but the Suns still trailed for all but a couple seconds of the period and went into the fourth quarter trailing 85-83. The Suns impressive three point shooting continued to be a factor as they closed the third period at 9-16 on the game.

The Clippers turned the beginning of the fourth quarter into a boot parade with a 17-4 run. Luis Scola attempted to stop the hemorrhaging, but to no avail. I am once again left baffled by the incomprehensibility of a team that can play so competitively for 36 minutes and then get ruthlessly blasted for 12. Clippers take the quarter 32-16. These are "your" Phoenix Suns. Guaranteed to satisfy. Clippers win 117-99.

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Player of the Game:

I was actually fooled into thinking this was going to be Beasley at halftime, but then came the reversion to the norm. The Clippers probably had three guys (Paul, Griffin and Crawford) that played at least as well as any Sun, but....

Player of the game goes to Luis Scola. He looked engaged the entire time he was on the court, and was the only one who looked like he hadn't quit when the fourth quarter turned into a huge embarrassing failure. Scola recorded a double-double with 18 points (8-11 fg) and 10 rebounds. Good game Luis.

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Comments of the Game:

I find it annoying that

Gentry still continues to go to a 10-man rotation, when this would be a good time to go to 9.

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This version of Beas is actually super cool.

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Dragic and Beasley

I think it's evident they both work better without each other. It's no surprise given both are more effective with the ball in their hands.

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Why man? I'm not asking for a superstar performance

Just want some hustle

Scola is trying

Morris is trying

JO is trying

Gorts is just out there...breathing

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The only player on this team that I have no quarrels with

Is definitely Morris. The Stupid things he does are just being young. He'll shake dumb fouls and whatnot as he grows. But everyone else is just... I don't know... not winners.

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Barnes with the lefty dunk?? Our D is "so aggressive."

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I can't watch it.

Gonna go do something else. Banging my head against the wall sounds fun now.

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The Good:

Michael Beasley in the first half. This was the Beasley we were all hoping to see in at least somewhat regular intervals. Then "good" Beasley popped smoke like a damn ninja, never to be seen for the rest of the game. Maybe that's not fair, I did notice him making some mind numbing decisions down the stretch.

The Suns offense really showed up. At halftime the Suns were shooting 48.8%, 55.6% and 92.3% from the field, three and the line. At the end of three it was nearly 50%, 60% and 90%. Then the fourth quarter happened...

Shannon Brown and Markieff Morris played well in stretches. Glimpses of improvement from Morris have actually been one of few redeeming qualities for the first quarter of the season.

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The Bad:

63 first half points for the Clippers. 63. The Suns come out with a refreshing, renascent look on offense, but still stumble along to a completely unacceptable performance on the defensive end.

Marcin Gortat kinda sucks right now, and by kinda I mean really. His rebounding donut hole in the first half came in conjunction with an inability to provide any modicum of defensive presence while the Suns were getting victimized inside by the Clippers bigs. He finished with six points and three rebounds and for all intents and purposes was barely a warm body.

Points in the paint. The Clippers score them. The Suns, not so much. A 32-14 disparity in the Clippers favor at halftime blossomed into a full blown 64-32 massacre by the end of the game. On the bright side, many of them were impressive, high flying dunks, so I'm sure that Clippers fans had a really good time.

Dragic was stultified by Paul early and often en route to a paltry eight points, five assists and four turnovers. I don't know if crap play is actually literally infectious, but recently Goran has been playing like a hack.

The Suns defense. I'm sick of talking about it.

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The Ugly:

That fourth quarter was sickeningly pathetic. My dog looked at the tv and started to vomit. These guys (absent Scola) should be ashamed to show their faces in public. O'Neal was lucky to get himself ejected so he didn't have to be a part of that. If they wanted to punish him they should have made him watch the rest of the game in the locker room. Talk about some Charlie Brown pulling the football away bs. Thanks for the great effort to close out the game. I'm sure everybody appreciates it.

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