The Phoenix Suns just couldn't keep the lead, and the Los Angeles Clippers closed out a late win on the road against a Suns team desperate for the win. Chris Paul made the right plays at the right times to seal a Clipper comeback from 17 points down.
The Phoenix Suns had a 17-point lead late in the third quarter, but were outscored 38-17 after that to lose the game and drop back into 9th place in the West.
After that, the Suns just couldn't recover. The refs had to check out-of-bounds calls three times in the final minutes, ruling all of them to the Clippers. The Suns just couldn't close it out.
Bledsoe had a chance to tie in the final minute, but couldn't get the shot off and then had it bounce off him on the way out of bounds.
Chris Paul was Chris Paul in this game. Mr MVP candidate. His 20 points, 9 rebounds and three steals led the Clippers through a tough game on the road against the Phoenix Suns who really wanted to win.
Paul and Darren Collison had three steals apiece, just highlighting a Suns problem all night with getting control of the game.
The Suns had a great third quarter run to take a 17-point lead, but then the Clippers clawed back while the Suns played like they just hoped the Clippers would give in.
But the Clippers didn't. They chipped away and chipped away until finally taking the lead on Dudley free throws and then a long, long Chris Paul three pointer with time running out.
But the Suns lost the game by losing their free spirit when the second unit came in, and they couldn't get it back.
It didn't help that Goran Dragic was 2-11 for the game, 0-5 on threes. Without him making shots, the Suns couldn't keep up.
Unlike Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns came out on fire on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Well, at least their energy was really high.
The Suns committed fouls (6 in 7 minutes of play) and missed open threes, but still led 16-13 after six minutes. The big question was whether the Suns could keep their energy level high all night, not just the opening minutes before the adrenalin wore off.
Eric Bledsoe scored 5 quick points but committed 2 quick fouls as well and took a seat on the bench. He was joined by Channing Frye soon after the Suns had surrendered their lead. And then Gerald Green committed two quick fouls in Eric Bledsoe's wake.
The Suns just couldn't figure out how to play aggressive without fouling, but then again the Clippers are second in the league in fouls drawn.
The Suns got into a funk, allowing the Clippers to go on a 7-0 run with ugly ball, before pulling back to 26-25 after one.
That is, until Miles Plumlee fouled Chris Paul on a MADE THREE POINTER with no time left on the clock.
What was a 1-point deficit became a 5-point deficit just like that. The Clippers were led by (of course) Matt Barnes with 11 points in 12 minutes of play.
The Clippers opened the second quarter the same way they opened the game, by drawing fouls and getting to the line. The Suns played stupid basketball, but stayed in the game thanks to jumper after jumper from Marcus (12) and Markieff (4) to score 16 of Suns first 18 second quarter points.
The game got chippy when the starters came back, with fouls being called on nearly every possession on each end of the court. The teams traded leads the whole time as well.
The Suns had a 2-point lead at halftime despite giving up 5 points in the final 1.6 seconds combined of the two quarters. Not 1.6 seconds in the each quarter. 1.6 seconds total.
The Clipper came out with an edge in the second half, really trying to physically take control of the game. But that just woke up the Suns, especially Channing Frye who dropped his first two threes in 3 games. Those 3s sandwiched a Miles Plumlee and-one on a hook shot.
Of course, Frye's outburst came right after I tweeted that it was obvious he's dragging with 75 games in four months, after a year off without even working out while recovering from the enlargement of the heart.
The Suns kept pulling away after that. The Clippers lost their composure while the Suns just got stronger and stronger.
P.J. Tucker started doing P.J. Tucker things with a couple of putback offensive rebounds. The Suns at one point outscored the Clippers 29-14 in the third.
The Clippers cut the 17-point Suns lead to 7 two minutes into the fourth quarter.
And then to 3 with 6 minutes to go.
And then the Clippers at the line to take the lead with 2:38 to go.
What was a 17-point lead and nearly a giveup by Clippers turned into a game all over again.