The only excitement in this game down the stretch was the tempers flaring between the teams as multiple players were ejected. On the court the Clippers never let the Suns close as they cruised to victory in the second half.


First Quarter:

Giving J.J. Redick rhythm shots probably isn't a good idea. He scored five points in the first 43 seconds since the Suns apparently weren't aware of this. Phoenix started out rebounding the ball well, batting the ball around several times on their way to hoops in the early going. The team looked crisp, led by the play of Goran Dragic. The Dragon had a great euro step that gave the team an early 13-9 lead.  Seeing Dragic being assertive in the early going was definitely a refreshing change.

Score: Clippers 27, Suns 23

Second Quarter:

Marcus Morris was showing off his hustle early in the second quarter by hitting the offensive glass several times in succession. The Suns moxie on the glass was visible. Later in the quarter Gerald Green started looking like he might be ready to have one of those nights. Why does he look out of control even when he's making great plays?

With the Clippers trying to extend a six point lead Jordan Crawford threw himself into a foul at the 7:33 mark. After a ferocious dunk on the other end, Alex Len was called for his third foul with 6:40 left. That didn't stop him as he had a nice move across the lane a couple minutes later for a bucket. It also didn't stop him from recording a career performance on the night.

After trailing early the Suns finally regained the lead with a Len dunk at 44-43. With the game knotted up the Clippers were still forcing the Suns into silly fouls and three second defensive violations. Green hit a three before halftime where it looked like he almost caught the ball midair and fired to give the Suns a 54-52 lead, but Chris Paul retorted with his own bucket to leave the score tied at halftime.

Score: Suns 54, Clippers 54

Third Quarter:

Markieff Morris picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter, giving him four. A 13-3 run gave the Clippers a 67-57 lead, with nine coming by Chris Paul.

With things unraveling, Marcus Morris picked up a technical that gave the Clippers a 71-59 lead. Blake Griffin followed that with an emphatic dunk that extended it to 14 points.

It took less than five minutes for the Suns to put the Clippers in the bonus.  An and-one alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan sent it to 76-59 just moments later. When Isaiah Thomas went to the line with the score 86-64 the Suns had only taken five free throws.

Meanwhile, the Suns gave up 42 points in the third quarter.


Score: Clippers 96, Suns 74

Fourth Quarter:

Bledsoe picked up a technical early in the fourth, which was apropos considering the team's frustrations.

Green and Thomas hit back-to-back threes that pared the lead to 13 at 105-92. Then Green went straight to the rack to cut it to 11. Green had 26 at that point.

After a couple plays went against the Suns, Chris Paul hit a three to make it 111-94.

Then Barnes got ejected. Good for him... and what a shocker.

Trying to get minutes for the Suns four guards?  Hornacek actually played Bledsoe, Dragic, Thomas and Green together with Len to finish the game. He was searching for anything to work. Unfortunately, it was too late.

Gerald Green managed to get himself thrown out at the end of the game while jawing with Chris Paul. I think Paul probably deserved it more than Gerald. But then again, he's Chris Paul.

Final Score: Clippers 120, Suns 107

Player of the Game:

Chris Paul (32 points on 10-13 field goals, nine assists, five rebounds) had the best game of anyone on the court... but he also threw a temper tantrum which resulted in Gerald Green getting ejected.

So I'll give it to Green, who had 26 points off the bench and nearly kept the Suns in the game... while obviously managing to get under Paul's skin.

Comments of the Game:

Game hasn't started in my totally legal online feed.

- Lino Canaan


Remember when Matt Barnes played here?  I sure don't.

- How is Lon Babby formed?


Meet and Greet with Matt Barnes?

Who the fuck wants to meet and greet Matt Barnes?

- Lino Canaan


Tolliver reminds me of that corner on your favorite football team that you know is going to get torched every night.

- Archie Goodwin's Ice Skates


Kinda feels like the Suns could use a three point shooting big man.

If only they had one...

- East Bay Ray


I think watching Tolliver play must be the same as when Sixers fans watch their team play.

Just without the whole top 5 pick thing.

- omnicious


Our strategy is run the shot clock down to get PJ his most efficient play - ISO.

Bravo, guys, bravo.

- jack's complete lack of surprise


Spencer Hawes taking a break from making moonshine to check back in.

- How is Lon Babby formed?


Go to the fire, sausage, it's your best chance to avoid a lawsuit!

- HeoYeah9


Fitting that one of the worst  3 point shooting teams int he league so far

Has a stellar game from three against us..........

- Swishblade


We're only one guard shy of the Full Guard team.

- KnowGood


Chris Paul is an a$$hole and I hope he never wins a championship.

- Suns of Anarchy

The Good:

Alex Len had another impressive performance as he continues to grow this season. He had career highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds in under 26 minutes while posing a real problem for the Clippers inside.

The Bad:

The Suns just didn't show up to start the second half. The Clippers went on a 22-5 run to begin the third period and the game was basically over.

The Ugly:

The Clippers really looked like a bunch of bitch-made punks.  That doesn't seem like a team I want going far. Matt Barnes has a face only a mother can barely tolerate, Blake Griffin's knickname should be Kleenex, Chris Paul is officious and arrogant and the rest of the team pretty much lacks any redeeming quality. Interestingly enough, the disparaging comments above about Barnes' lack of character were made well before his early departure.

People can go ahead and cheer for the Clippers because they escaped from the grasp of their evil former owner or because of their downtrodden history, but I'm going to cheer for anyone else to come out of the Western Conference. They're worse than the Lakers.

Final Thoughts:

That mostly sucked.

The Clippers blew out the Phoenix Suns, off of a strong shooting performance. The Suns had numerous players struggle offensively, especially the Morris twins, who combined to score 8 points on...

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Time: 8:30 p.m. MST TV: FSA Name one game where the Phoenix Suns have put it all together. “All,” for these purposes, can be subjectively a 48-minute effort or a well-rounded...

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After stumbling to a 2-3 record on their five game homestand the Phoenix Suns embark on a six game road trip with a pit stop in Los Angeles against the Clippers before traveling across the country for games against Eastern Conference opponents.

When: Saturday November 15, 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 Suns and Clippers faced off in a preseason game at the STAPLES Center on October 22nd in which starters for both teams logged heavy minutes. LA pulled out a narrow 108-105 victory behind the heroics of Chris Paul (34 points, 9 assists, 4 steals) and Blake Griffin (35 points, 7 rebounds). Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 27 points while Gerald Green chipped in 23 off the bench.

The game was tightly contested throughout and Marcus Morris gave the Suns a one point lead on a three pointer with 1:46 remaining, but Spencer Hawes responded with a layup for the Clippers to give LA the lead for good. Gerald Green missed a three pointer before the buzzer that would have tied the game.

This is the first regular season game between the teams this season. The Clippers won last season's series 3-1.

Team Bios:

Los Angeles Clippers: 4-3

Points per game: 100.7 (15th)     Points allowed: 101.7 (21st)

ORtg: 106.7 (14th)     DRtg: 107.8 (22nd)

Full team statistics.

The usual suspects are still here. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick compose a harrowing starting five. The usual results are not. A Clippers team that surely had preseason aspirations of seizing the NBA's best regular season record has sputtered out of the gate.

The Clippers high octane offense that was first in the league in points per game and offensive rating in the 2013-14 season has been sedately middle of the pack this campaign. LA had some time this week (four days off) to reflect on their shortcomings and work out the kinks since their last game was a Monday home loss (89-85) to the San Antonio Spurs.

Key offseason acquisition Spencer Hawes has been pitifully wretched in the early going. After averaging 13.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season he is managing just 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds so far this season. His .416 shooting percentage from thee point range has dropped declivitously to .231. Hawes is averaging just 17.0 minutes per game, by far his lowest total since his rookie season seven years ago.

The Clippers may also be adjusting to life without backup point guard Darren Collison, who left the team last summer to take a starting role with the Sacramento Kings. Collison averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists for LA last season. The Clippers haven't found a playmaker to take the reins while Paul sits this season, with only Griffin (3.6) and Jamal Crawford (2.8) averaging more than two assists per game.


Phoenix Suns: 5-4

Points per game: 103.7 (10th)     Points allowed: 103.3 (24th)

ORtg: 106.2 (15th)     DRtg: 105.9 (18th)

Full team statistics.

22 out of 31.

22 out of the Suns next 31 games will be on the road starting with tonight's matchup against the Clippers that begins a six game, 10 day road trip. That is some kind of brutal.

Unfortunately, the Suns couldn't manage to close out the get away game against the Charlotte Hornets last night and finished a five game homestand at a disappointing 2-3. At least the Hornet loss wasn't as vexing as their recent 114-112 double overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings in which the team squandered a multitude of opportunities. Charlotte just played parsimonious defense and executed on offense when they needed to down the stretch. It was actually kind of a clinic, giving an example of what the Suns need to aspire to.

The Suns are still searching for their identity, while sporadically fluctuating in and out of periods of maddening inconsistency.  Finding the right combinations and playing time for the team's four top guards seems to be the biggest stumbling block. Not only does the team have three starting quality point guards (Isaiah Thomas, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe), but shooting guard Gerald Green could start for many teams and is definitely deserving of regular rotation minutes.

To this point, it has been the two reserves, Thomas and Green, who have played a bigger role in the team's early success. In the team's five wins Thomas is averaging 22.2 points per game and Green 17.4. Bledsoe has averaged just 11.8 points in the wins. Interestingly enough, Bledsoe is averaging 19.5 points per game in the team's four losses.

Isaiah has scored 20+ points in all five wins. Eric has scored 20+ points in three of the four losses. Thomas is +13 in point differential (third on the team behind the Morris brothers) while Bledsoe is -7 (worst among the team's rotation players). The team has been better with Isaiah playing and Eric sitting in the inchoate stages of the season. This just doesn't seem like a recipe for success.

Three point shooting, which should be a weapon for the Suns, also needs to improve on both ends of the court. The Suns are managing just .329 from deep this season (18th) after hitting .372 (8th) of their attempts last season.

The Suns are also allowing .368 (21st) to their opponents after finishing second in the NBA in three point defense (.342) last season. In football there is an idiom - run the football, stop the run. For the team the Suns have currently constructed it should be - shoot the three, stop the three. This trend will need to be corrected.

What To Watch For:

Guard play for the Suns is an obvious evolving drama that is worthy of a watchful eye on a nightly basis. The Clippers are one of few teams in the NBA that can stake a claim to being superior to the Suns in this facet (Paul, Crawford, Redick). Bledsoe's body language was bad during the two fourth quarters he sat while Thomas played. Isaiah has been on the record recently professing he still aspires to be a starter. Green is playing for his last big contract. Goran's numbers have shriveled from last season's breakout All-NBA performance. Dragic is in a contract year, too. Eventually this situation may reach a boiling point, especially if the team doesn't enjoy success. Hopefully it does.

The Clippers are dead last in the NBA in rebounding differential (-6.7). They weren't particularly good last season, either, finishing 20th (-.7). The Suns should have a chance to win this battle. How Markieff Morris handles heavy minutes against Blake Griffin might make the difference here.

The Final Word(s):

This is a hard one to call for me. Maybe it shouldn't be.

A Clippers team that is supposed to be better playing at home on four days rest against a team that lost a tough game the previous night doesn't really sound too difficult to call.

Still, the Suns have a lot of players that can heat up and LA hasn't been clicking to this point. Maybe this will be a game where the Suns start to figure some things out.

Maybe not.

Starting off this road trip on the right foot would be huge, though, because the road (and I mean road) ahead is pretty daunting.

I'll reluctantly go with Clippers 113, Suns 106.

The Phoenix Suns aren't the only team underperforming out of the gate this season. The Los Angeles Clippers are barely above even themselves. ClipsNation shares some insights on the season, and one of the Clips' former players Eric Bledsoe.

The Phoenix Suns (5-4) start a six-game road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers (4-3). Neither team is playing up to their potential. Today, we talk to Justin Russo, aka FlybyKnite, of our sister SBNation site ClipsNation to get the inside scoop on the Clippers' start.


Dave: The Clippers have started out a bit slow this year, at least compared to some preseason pundits who expected them to lead the league in wins this season. Is their struggle and example of unrealistic expectations? Or are the Clippers really having troubles? Or both?

ClipsNation's FlybyKnite: I think it's two-fold. I think they're struggling to deal with the expectations of being a top Western Conference team, or even a top team in the NBA, and it's sort of got them in this "we'll flip the switch when we need to" mode. Except it doesn't work like that and teams are genuinely not going to be pushovers. You can't just flip the switch and expect things to work out. The other side of it is I think the team is going through some early season ruts due to injuries and bugs. Last weekend, Blake Griffin was dealing with what sounded like the flu and DeAndre Jordan had to deal with it on Monday night against the Spurs. Plus, Griffin had a small fracture in his lower back during the offseason which is why he didn't play for Team USA so that really might be hampering him early on in the year. He's just not as explosive as he has been. So, I do believe they're having some troubles but I think the troubles will work themselves out as the season trudges along.


Dave: As a casual Clipper fan, I love watching DeAndre Jordan play basketball. He's so impactful when he's making plays. But are Clipper fans as enamored with DJ? As talented as he is, is he the best defender he can be when he's not blocking shots?

Oh man, I might catch some flak for this one. There are Clippers fans who love DeAndre. Quite a bit, actually. And I totally get it. But he isn't the best defender he can be when he's not blocking shots. As solid of a shot-blocker as he is from the weakside at times, I genuinely don't even view him as a great, or even good, defender. I know there are others who will disagree with me but also some who would agree. He's not the problem on defense but he's also not what his numbers indicate he is. I'd say he's right around league average for his position when it comes to defense. He has a lot he can improve upon but I'm not sure he'll be able to. He is what he is right now and I think he's basically a maxed out defender who can give you highlight blocks and the occasional solid post defense but nothing much outside of that.


Dave: Chris Paul is a master and seems to want to show Eric Bledsoe he still rules the court whenever they play the Suns. This preseason, it seemed that Paul was doing whatever he could to will the Clippers to a win. And that was preseason. Is Paul just a killer against every team, or have Clipper fans noticed an uptick in play against Bledsoe too?

It's both. It's definitely both. Paul hates being outshined by anyone and really gets annoyed when opposing point guards try to one-up him. However, that Bledsoe matchup is one that really picks at him. He liked Eric but this is the master-student relationship still in Chris' eyes and I believe he wants to go out there and give Bledsoe a lesson in how point guards operate. That's not to say Bledsoe isn't great or anything. Bledsoe's fantastic. But it's these kind of matchups where you really see what drives Chris Paul inside. It's the fear of failure and getting outplayed by someone who you perceived as being beneath you. Fear can motivate people in crazy was and Chris is one of those guys. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But he's always going to give them hell.


Dave: Eric Bledsoe was a really good backup in Clipperland with a lot of potential. Do Clipper fans feel he has reached that potential yet after having such a good season last year? Or does he have room to grow (or drop)?

Honestly, I still think he has a world of room to grow. And, if I'm being honest, what he is today in Phoenix is not what he would have been if he had stayed with the Clippers. The Suns coaching staff should get a massive amount of credit for turning him into the player he is today. He's not as out of control as he was with the Clippers and they've done wonders with his jumper, both with results and with the look. It's aesthetically different and it's quite clear. I still think he's learning how to play basketball. Bledsoe has the ability to be one of the top five guards in the game since he's so ferocious defensively and then channels that ferocity offensively when driving to the hoop or running aggressive pick-and-rolls. The guy's a little dynamo and the sky's truly the limit for him. Imagine what he'll be like when his jumper gets more consistent and he's able to control things a tad more. Scary.


Dave: Finally, what is your prediction for the Suns and Clippers season series this year? Last year, it seemed that the games were weird. The Suns dished a blowout, as did the Clips, and the other two were much more closely contested with unexpected leaders being deciding factors (ie. Matt Barnes)?

I was actually in Staples Center in December when the Suns throttled the Clippers something fierce. That was a sight to behold, let me tell you. The series this year seems like it should be a good one. The Suns have a better bench this year thanks to Isaiah Thomas and the "likely to go nuts at any moment in good and bad ways" Gerald Green. The structure of the season series is weird, though. You guys are coming in on Saturday on a back-to-back and then you visit again in early December but then we don't see each other until late January and then the final matchup is on the second-to-last day of the season in Phoenix. Oddly enough, the Clippers and Suns are the only two teams in the NBA who won't play on the final day of the year. Weird. That matchup has the Clippers coming in on a back-to-back. So there're two back-to-back matchups, one apiece, and then one matchup at home against a rested opponent. Seems like that structure lends itself to a very hard fought season series and one that, like last year, could come back down to X-Factor candidates like Gerald Green, one of the Morrii, Alex Len, Matt Barnes, Spencer Hawes, or someone like that. When you get two good teams against each other in a series, there are always those games where someone breaks out randomly. As for the prediction, I'll say we split the season series with 2 wins apiece.


Big thanks to Justin for coming on here to help us get to know the Clippers a bit better. Check out Justin Russo on twitter (@FlybyKnite) and on SBNation's ClipsNation blog.

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