What a game. The Suns ended up on the wrong side of the final score as Blake Griffin somehow managed to bounce in a buzzer beating three pointer in overtime, but this was the most exciting game of their season despite the heartbreaking finish.


First Quarter:

Eric Bledsoe hit a three to kick things off... that already gave him more points than in his last game against the Clippers. Goran Dragic and Bledsoe were doing the heavy lifting on offense in the early going and combined to score 15 of the Suns' first 17 points, but miscues (sloppy passing, fouling three point shooters) were keeping the Clippers close. Bledsoe may have been pushing against his former team, committing a couple bad turnovers early.

Dragic made a driving, behind the back circus move which led to an easy layup to put the Suns up 17-11, but just a minute later another bad pass coming out of a timeout led to a fastbreak dunk for DeAndre Jordan to tie the score at 17.

The first technical of the game was called on Dragic with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter. It seemed pretty questionable to me. Less than a minute later Blake Griffin and Alex Len got tangled up under the Suns' basket. There's no love lost between these teams. In the midst of the escalating chippy play Los Angeles suddenly reeled off a 15-2 run to surge ahead 26-19.

Gerald Green ended the rally with a triple and Dragic capped off the quarter with another tortuous trip through traffic and a contorted scoop shot to tie the game just before the buzzer sounded. Goran's 12 points buoyed the Suns, but six costly turnovers kept the game tight.

Score: Suns 28, Clippers 28

Second Quarter:

Before you could blink Green hit his second three of the game to start the second quarter. Anthony Tolliver followed suit and the Suns were off to a 7-10 start from long distance. A nice sequence of fast paced basketball included an accidental bank shot by ex-Sun and famously failed experiment Hedo Turkoglu and a menacing dunk by the ever evolving Alex Len courtesy of a wrap around pass by Bledsoe.

For the second time in the first half the Suns fouled J.J. Redick shooting a three and he made all three free throws to give the Clippers a 45-40 lead. Mental lapses were undermining a very spirited effort by the Suns. Dragic hit a three, his first points of the second quarter, with just under three minutes remaining to get the Suns back within a point (51-50), but on the ensuing possession Jordan's second wide open dunk in the last three trips down the court put the Clippers back up by three.

The second technical of the game was charged to Blake Griffin with 2:14 left in the quarter. This one seemed well deserved. Nobody in the league is fouled more than Blake Griffin... according to Blake Griffin.

Bledsoe nailed a couple free throws with just over a second left that gave the Suns a 57-56 edge. Just when it looked like the Suns were going to take the lead into halftime Eric fouled Jared Cunningham on the other end. Of course he was shooting a three. Of course he made it. Of course he converted the four point play. Committing three fouls on three point shots in one half has to carry some kind of dubious distinction with it.

That pretty much summed up the first half, too. The Suns were scrappy and engaged, but couldn't get out of their own way enough to build up a lead. Bledsoe was the poster boy with 12 points, nine assists, four turnovers and three fouls. Griffin led the way for the bad guys with an efficient 17 points as the Suns' physical defense did little to deter him.

Score: Clippers 60, Suns 57

Third Quarter:

There was a lot of complaining going on in this game... on both sides of the ball. Miles Plumlee went from invisible in the first half to atrocious at the beginning of the third quarter as he lost track of Jordan on defense, leading to an alley-oop dunk, then committed an offensive foul setting a pick on the Suns' next offensive trip. Miles was exiled to the bench and the Clippers had pulled ahead 70-63. Emotionally scarring memories of the Suns' last third quarter debacle at the STAPLES Center began to plague my outlook.

One failed offensive set included Dragic kicking the ball around before falling down and then Len whiffing on a dunk after he managed to come up with the loose ball. Despite their best efforts, though, the Suns were still managing to hang on in the game, trailing 73-67 halfway through the quarter.

After a dunk by Griffin that was an affront to the fundamental law of gravity, Markieff Morris responded from long distance at the other end. It would be Kieff's last shot of the quarter, though, as two quick, cheap fouls sent him to the bench with four. The Suns were holding on for dear life and Griffin was imposing his will on the game with 11 points in the quarter and 28 for the game.

Aside from his blooper reel dunk, Alex Len was doing work for the Suns. The big man had seven in the quarter for the Suns, including five late to help keep Phoenix within striking distance. He was even switching between guarding Jordan and Griffin. He wasn't necessarily stopping either of them, but it was hard not to be impressed with the young man's effort and overall play. Len finished the quarter with 14 points and seven boards.

The third quarter didn't follow the meltdown script from the previous meeting between these teams, but the Suns had their work cut out for them.

Score: Clippers 89, Suns 80

Fourth Quarter:

Green became the second Suns' reserve in double digits at the beginning of the fourth quarter as his three point play cut the lead to 89-85. The Suns appeared to be here to stay.

The first ejection of the game came with 9:13 left in the fourth quarter. Goodbye Jamal Crawford. Doc Rivers joined in the fun, too. You have a technical foul... and you have a technical foul... and you have a technical foul. The Clippers were being very magnanimous in their efforts to gift the Suns free throws. Crawford's ejection was in conjunction with what looked like a clear path foul for Bledsoe, but the Suns had to settle for just two free throws and the ball. A six point flurry by Bledsoe, though, had pulled the Suns within one at 94-93.

Marcus Morris put the Suns back ahead at 96-94 after a convenient shot clock malfunction delayed the game for several minutes during a surge of Phoenix momentum. Marcus tripled again and Plumlee scored his first points of the game and the Suns were suddenly up by five (101-96), outscoring the Clippers 21-7 in the period.

The Clippers' rebuttal to the Suns' rally was pounding the ball to Griffin inside. He hit four straight free throws then Chris Paul added two more to put LA back up 104-103. The Suns squandered a great opportunity in this stretch when Len missed a bunny at the rim off a beautiful feed from Green.

Markieff and Len were both playing with five fouls for the Suns down the stretch. Then only Markieff was as Len was charged for his sixth foul against... guess who - Blake Griffin. After another foul on P.J. Tucker Griffin was 15-17 from the line (with 38 points total) and the Clippers had scored 10 of their last 12 points on free throws.

Great ball movement by the Suns resulted in an open look for Bledsoe from three and the Suns closed within one (110-109). Paul countered with a jump shot on the other end. Markieff hit a tough shot in the lane after Bledsoe got the Suns the ball with his tenth rebound of the game, giving Eric his first career triple double.

An away from the ball foul on everybody's favorite scumbag Matt Barnes allowed Green to tie the game at 112 with :27 left while the Suns retained possession. Bledsoe missed a good look from three at the top of the key and LA got the ball back after it went out of bounds off of Green. A foul could have probably been called on Chris Paul.

Then Eric Bledsoe took Chris Paul's lunch money with a massive rejection at the buzzer that forced overtime. Holy blocked shot.

Score: Suns 112, Clippers 112

Bonus Basketball:

Gerald Green jumped center court with DeAndre Jordan to start overtime.

Tucker drew first blood with a two from the corner, but Griffin responded with four points sandwiched around an offensive foul on Tucker induced by a Griffin flop. Tucker and Griffin were really talking and getting after each other.

Markieff hit a three with 1:57 left to put the Suns back up 117-116. After the teams traded fruitless possessions Kieff was open in the corner again. Goran found him... and he drilled it again! The Suns were up by four with just :43 remaining in OT.

Tucker forced Griffin to miss a tough shot and then snared the rebound, but was tied up by Barnes. Tucker had a quiet line for the game, but he had his fingerprints all over the extra session. Redick ended up with the ball after it was tipped and laid it in to cut the Suns' lead to 120-118.

A bad miss by the Suns was rebounded by Green, but resulted in a shot clock violation because the ball never touched the rim. LA got the ball back with 5.6 seconds left, down by two.

The Suns used a foul and the Clippers inbounded again with 2.6 seconds left.

Then Blake Griffin heaved up a three pointer as time expired. It hit the front of the rim, bounced up a few feet into the air... and somehow managed to go in.


Final Score: Clippers 121, Suns 120

Player of the Game:

Eric Bledsoe. Eric really cleaned up his game after a spectacular but uneven first half. He recorded his first career triple double with 27 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds. He also chipped in two steals and two blocks, including one against Chris Paul at the end of regulation that sent the game to overtime.

In general, Bledsoe was quite a bit better than when he scored one point against the Clippers last time and since this recap is going up after 12:01 AM December 9th... Happy Birthday Eric.

The Good:

Markieff Morris bounced back from an abhorrent 2-14 shooting effort against the Houston Rockets and a slow start against the Clippers and made huge plays for the Suns down the stretch. His two three pointers in overtime very nearly sealed the game for Phoenix and he managed to play through the fourth quarter and overtime with five fouls. Kieff finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Len was the best center for the Suns again tonight. He continues to flash potential and it seems inevitable that he will supplant Plumlee from the starting position at some point this season. Alex finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Bad:

Technical Difficulties. Difficulties with the broadcast. Difficulties with the shot clock. These things detracted from a very entertaining game, but still couldn't manage to spoil it. Luckily, the signal drop that froze the broadcast several times in the first half didn't rear its ugly head during an exhilarating fourth quarter and overtime.

The Suns traded out defenders on Blake Griffin all night and used up a slew of fouls (five for Markieff, five for Tucker and six for Len), but Griffin still managed to score a season high 45 points, most in the NBA by any player this season. It wasn't from a lack of effort by the Suns, he was just that good. Griffin was the Clippers catalyst all night and was ultimately and literally the difference in the game.

The Ugly:

That damn bounce off the rim on Blake Griffin's three pointer. How the hell did that go in...

Final Thought(s):

The Suns played a monster game and have nothing to be ashamed of, but that still only partly mollifies the sting of losing such an emotional contest in this fashion.

Hopefully there won't be a hangover tomorrow against the Miami Heat.

Thanks for giving us such an awesome game to watch Suns.

Screw you Blake Griffin.

1.Was the win at Dallas the most impressive of the season? Kevin Zimmerman: I’d say it was only the most impressive road win. That second half against the Warriors looks more impressive by the...

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The Bench Mob reflects on the history of the US Airways Center in light of the new name change and share some soundbites from Suns practice. Phoenix Suns: Ode to the US Airways Center by The Bench...

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Welcome to the Madhouse! Bright Side of the Sun is an amazing and diverse community and it deserves a place where the tyranny of topicality does not rule. And that's what The Madhouse is. It's Bright Side of the Sun's place to talk about whatever you want, whenever you want.

Based on the results of their games over the last few years it doesn't seem like the Suns and Clippers like each other very much. The next episode in this acrimonious rivalry will take place tonight as the Suns close out a three game road trip.

When: Monday December 8, 2014, 8:30 PM local time (10:30 EST)

Where: STAPLES Center Los Angeles, CA

Watch/Listen: TV: FOX Sports Arizona  Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM


Last Meeting:

The Clippers mopped the floor with the Suns in a home game November 15th earlier this season 120-107. The game was tied at 54 at halftime before the Clippers blew the game open with a 42-20 third quarter. The only pyrotechnics in the second half of this game were due to extracurricural activites, with five players drawing a total of seven technical fouls and Matt Barnes and Gerald Green getting ejected.

Matt Barnes is a real peach.

Green scored 26 points in the loss with four threes prior to exiting stage left with a buck fifty seven left in the fourth quarter. Alex Len had one of the best games of his career as he tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds. The four starters not named Goran Dragic combined for 17 points with Eric Bledsoe managing just one on 0-6 shooting against his former team. The Suns' reserves outscored the starters 71-36.

Chris Paul drained three of his five triples at the start of the third quarter to stretch the lead to double digits and things unraveled quickly for Phoenix. Paul got the very slight upperhand on former teammate Bledsoe in the game as he outscored him by 31 points (32-1). DeAndre Jordan had a fairly inhuman line with 12 points, 18 boards and 7 blocks. That's a decent night at the office.

Last season the Clippers were a nemesis for the Suns, beating Phoenix three times over the last 23 games of the season while the Suns were making their (failed) push for the playoffs. In their last meeting on April 2, 2014 the Suns squandered a 17 point third quarter lead and collapsed in the fourth quarter. The Clippers outscored Phoenix 34-17 in the period to steal a 112-108 victory on the Suns' home floor. There were only three technicals in that game (Barnes, Paul, Bledsoe).

Going back a little further I'm sure most Suns fans can remember the Jared Dudley/Blake Griffin scuffle in 2012.

Team Bios:

Los Angeles Clippers: 14-5

Points per game: 106.4 (4th) Points allowed: 98.5 (9th)

ORtg: 113.5 (3rd) DRtg: 105.1 (11th)

Full team statistics.

Since a sluggish 5-4 start the Clippers have won nine of their last ten games and have currently run off seven victories in a row. They are absolutely pistol whipping teams, too, winning each of their last five by at least 16 points. To put their stellar play even further into perspective, the Clippers just went 6-1 on a recent road trip.

That's pretty good.

Blake Griffin (22.9 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Chris Paul (17.9 points, 9.8 assists) still lead the charge, DeAndre Jordan (12.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) terrorizes the lane, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick fill it up from three and Matt Barnes is basically a punk.

Phoenix Suns: 12-9

Points per game: 105.2 (5th) Points allowed: 103.1 (25th)

ORtg: 107.7 (11th) DRtg: 105.5 (14th)

Full team statistics.

Your Phoenix Suns are coming off a less than clinquant performance against the Houston Rockets in a 100-95 loss on Saturday night. Somehow the Suns were still in the game late in the fourth quarter despite shooting 7-28 from three point range and getting outrebounded 57-40. The Morris brothers struggled mightily and finished a combined 4-23 from the field. Sticking with the Matt Barnes theme of players I don't like, Patrick Beverley was the Rockets fourth quarter hero and made huge plays by hitting timely threes and seemingly coming up with every rebound down the stretch.

The Suns shot just 36.6% from the field against Houston after blistering the Dallas Mavericks for 56.3% the previous night and hitting exactly 50% against the Indiana Pacers prior to that. Of course the embarrassing loss to the Orlando Magic, in which the Suns shot just 40%, preceded these efforts and illustrates just how uneven Phoenix's play has been recently.

Goran Dragic appears to be pulling out of his early season swoon and is now leading the team with 16 points per game, but the Suns are still scoring by committee with five players averaging at least 14.5 per game. Super subs Gerald Green and Isaiah Thomas are ninth and tenth in the NBA in points per minute among players with at least 10 appearances this season. Thomas will be a game time decision.

What To Watch For:

A Donnybrook: Maybe I'm inventing this, but these teams really don't seem to like each other. I know for sure that I don't like the Clippers. The triumvirate of Paul, Griffin and Barnes is the most repugnant of any team in the NBA. Barnes, especially, has his very own place in my cold dead heart. I'm setting the over/under for technical fouls at 2.5 and I really hope the Suns put a savage beating on these fools.

Kieff: Morris was just 2-10 from the field in his last meeting against the Clippers and finished with as many fouls (five) as points. Not good. In his last game against the Rockets he was a ghastly 2-14 and finished with more fouls (six) than points (four). Again... not good. Markieff has been generally very productive this season, with those two games very probably his worst of the season. If he can offset the impact of Blake Griffin the Suns will have a great chance to win this game. Yes, I realize that's a asking a lot.

Bledsoe: Eric has failed to have a standout game against his former team, totaling just 22 points in three games. His matchup against Paul is another that could swing the game.

Isaiah's Ankle: Phoenix could really use his scoring punch back in the lineup. Not only for tonight's game, but to let Hornacek distribute the minutes in a manner that lightens the load for tomorrow's back to back against the Miami Heat.

The Final Word(s):

Have I mentioned I don't like the Clippers?

This would be a huge win for the Suns, especially since there is no expectation that this is a game they "should" or "need to" win. Total house money situation.

With the white hot stretch of basketball the Clippers are in the midst of it will be a tall order.

Hopefully the Suns will at least come out with a burning passion and seething vitriol befitting this inimical rivalry. Hopefully some shots will fall, too.

My prediction: please don't get blown out.

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