Phoenix- The Phoenix Suns (26-20) dropped their second consecutive game on Sunday night by falling to the Los Angeles Clippers (30-14) 120-100 on Sunday night. The win is the sixth straight for the...

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The Suns fought back hard in the 2nd quarter after a slow start, and tried to come back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth as well, but they got sloppy down the stretch and it cost them the game.

The Phoenix Suns begin the game with their starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Alex Len.  The Los Angeles Clippers begin with Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.

Suns back-up center Brandan Wright is out tonight with a sore left heel.  Miles Plumlee will see additional minutes once again as the back-up center in his absence.

First Quarter

Suns have missed their first three shots...but so have Clippers.

Alex Len is the first to get on the board, followed by Markieff.

Len picked up his first foul on Jordan...even though DeAndre missed both FT's, he's going to have to be careful with Wright out.

Beautiful feed from Bledsoe to Len for the THUNDEROUS dunk!!!

Another great feed from Bledsoe off bounce pass for Markieff dunk.

J.J. Redick can shoot. #newsflash

Suns down 13-10 halfway through the first quarter.  Suns playing aggressive but Clippers also getting to the rim.

When Blake Griffin is hitting his jumpshots, there's not a lot you can do to guard him

Miles Plumlee and Isaiah Thomas enter the game for Goran Dragic and Alex Len

Bledsoe is soooo quick cutting through the defense.  Jordan made a nice attempt on blocking but it was too late. #countthebasket

Marcus Morris and Gerald Green now Check in for the Suns.

Miles had Spencer Hawes dead to rights...but gave him too much respect going soft instead of putting it in the basket.

Suns trail the Clippers 23-16 at the end of the first quarter.  Slow starts are nothing new for PHX, but they need to pull together quickly.

Phoenix shot only 33% in the first quarter compared to Clippers' 44%. Suns being out-rebounded 19-13.

Second Quarter

Dragic missed a wide open Plumlee under the basket twice on that possession.

Big Baby isn't fast enough to keep up with Plumlee cutting to the basket...something Suns should watch for.

This is the Suns opportunity to make a run with Clippers bench in the game, but so far they aren't capitalizing.

Austin Rivers made a jumpshot. #drink

Marcus Morris is the only hot hand right now it seems for Suns...He now has 11.

Alex Len is back in the game now...so is DeAndre.

Dragic scores on a full court sprint as he weaves through the defense

Isaiah with a three that brings the Suns back within 5 points about halfway through the 2nd quarter.

Blake Griffin with nice move to get free for dunk.  Markieff gets him back with a finesse layup on other end.

Matt Barnes complained about a call and got a technical.  #drink

Chris Paul shouldn't try to defend Alex Len.

Ghost foul. #drink

Bledsoe will not be denied! And-one for mini-LeBron.

Bledsoe three and the Suns re-take the lead!  But J.J. Redick answers back.  Clips back up one.

Suns crowd is now loud and engaged after a quiet start...Definitely helping to provide a spark and energy during Suns' surge.

Markieff found Len at the rim for another big dunk.  Then Paul fouls Dragic and tries to help Goran off, Dragic angrily swings his arm away from him.

Things starting to get a little chippy now...it was only a matter of time.

Len now has 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Suns lead Clippers 57-55 at the half. Suns now shooting 49%, same for Clippers. Alex Len is the leading scorer for the Suns with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blks.  He's had an impressive first half on both ends of the floor

Third Quarter

Blake Griffin still shooting and making shots.  He hits the first of the 2nd half to tie the game.

Markieff Morris gets a tech for arguing with Barnes...But that's not a benchable offense.

Alex Len still dunking everything.

Another beautiful drive and score by Bledsoe...too quick, too strong.

Suns falling a little flat here...Need to regroup. Timeout.

Alex Len goes for the Dunk, gets fouled and puts it back, but no basket. He only hits 1/2.  Should have counted the shot.

Chris Paul can't believe he was called for a foul. #drink

Suns in the penalty already...Chris Paul going to the line.

Suns have to be careful here...the game is starting to get away from them with the Clippers now up 79-70 with 3 min remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Suns down 13 now after two back-to-back three pointers by Spencer Hawes.

Blake Griffin reportedly yelling "Don't cry, P.J." as team huddles in timeout....Yeah.

J.J. Redick with a 3rd quarter buzzer beater that rims around before falling at the end of the quarter...Suns now down 12.

Suns down 89-77 at the end of the third quarter.  Phoenix needs to make a big run in the 4th to take control.

Fourth Quarter

The Suns are still missing their shots to start the fourth.

Big Baby just crushed a fan in the front row...

P.J. Tucker hits a three-pointer to get the Suns back within eight early in the 4th.

Isaiah with a nice floater at the rim.

Suns cut the lead to 4 with another big three from Isaiah.

Gerald suckered into a foul by the savvy vet, Jamal Crawford.

Four-Point possession. Suns allow rebound on Crawford missed FT.  Three by Paul.

Thomas with another three keeping Suns alive

Isaiah then Green hit back-to-back threes and the crowd explodes!!! Suns down only 2 points.  Time out Clippers with 7 minutes remaining.

Plumlee iso is not the ideal  play there.

Suns falling behind again.  Clippers hitting their shots...Suns aren't.

Bledsoe goes 0-2 from the line...Not good when trying to make a double-digit comeback under 5 minutes to go.

Suns have completely fallen apart now.  Down 17 when they had cut the lead to just two.

Suns fans are exiting the building with 4 minutes left.

Phoenix is resorting to fouling DeAndre Jordan on every possession, and it's only barely making a difference, as even he is hitting crazy free throws off the backboard.

Suns are waiving the white flag as Goodwin, Warren, Bullock, Zoran, and Plumlee check in with 2 minutes left

Game Over, Suns Lose

The Suns dropped their second home loss in a row, after starting off 4-0.  Phoenix has two home games left against Washington and Chicago before heading back on the road to play Golden State and Utah.

Next game against the Wizards is this Wednesday...Better luck next time.

The Phoenix Suns' Tyler Ennis and T.J. Warren looked strong in their two games this weekend with the Jam.

Just in case anyone was worried, T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis are both still pretty darn good at basketball.

Despite not getting many minutes at the NBA level, as the Suns hunt for a playoff spot, Warren and Ennis absolutely dominated in Bakersfield this weekend. The two looked more comfortable on the court together than they have all season and put up a fantastic stat line, helping the Jam to two important wins.

Both players looked good, but Warren's performance was on a different level in both games this weekend.

In the first game, against the Idaho Stampede, Warren was the star of the show, with 34 points, 3 steals and 3 rebounds on a very healthy 16/26 shooting number. Warren's rebounding effort could have been better, but generally his defensive presence was felt, as the starting forwards for the Stampede, Tyrel Tate and Joel Wright, combined for just 27 points on 13/27 shooting. They did have a large rebounding edge, however, with Wright nabbing 4 offensive rebounds.

It was more of the same for Warren in the second game (also against the Stampede) as he again went for 34 points, this time on 13/24 shooting with 8 rebounds. If anything, he looked better with his rotations on the defensive end in this game, which is encouraging.

Ennis' play wasn't quite as spectacular as Warren's, but still impressive nonetheless and probably his best play in the D-League so far. In the first game, Ennis had 17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and two steals. He was super efficient, hitting 7/11 including 3/5 from beyond the arc. His defense was at times suspect this game, as the opposing guards were able to score from the perimeter without too much opposition. But his penetration defense was better than it has looked in the past.

The second game was Ennis' best of the season so far, as he put up 29 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. The efficiency this game was somewhat reduced, as Ennis hit just 2/7 three pointers, but the bright side of that is that he looked a lot more comfortable penetrating and in the pick and roll game. It was also a sloppier game for Ennis, who picked up 5 fouls and had 3 turnovers. The turnovers aren't terribly indicting - they're more common in D-League play than in the NBA - but 5 fouls on a guard at this level isn't a good thing. Judging by the results, however, the fouls worked: the backcourt for the Stampede was far less efficient in this game than the previous.

Warren and Ennis have been recalled by the Suns, and they will re-join the team today.

The Jam's next game is on Tuesday, Jan. 27th. The game will be broadcast live on YouTube.

Could we start anywhere else for this Suns preview?    Phoenix Suns fans have likely spent the last 36 hours frantically throwing salt over their shoulders, high-stepping over cracks and abjectly...

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Will the Suns get back in the win column today against the Los Angeles Clippers? Can the Suns keep their emotions under control while playing with intensity and aggression against one of their biggest Western Conference rivals?

What: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena. Phoenix, AZ

When: 4:00 pm Locally/6:00 pm Eastern

Watch: Fox Sports AZ / Listen: AZ Sports 98.7 FM

This afternoon, the Suns will attempt to rinse the bad taste out of their mouths after suffering yet another buzzer-beater loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Friday night; their third such loss this season...and leading the NBA in this unfortunate category.

For the Suns, this will be the sixth game of their eight-game home stretch, of which they are 4-1 thus far.  It would be a big boost to the Suns' confidence, and also their standings if they can pull out a big win against a very tough Western Conference foe, after a late rally that fell just short against Houston.

As for the Clippers, they are coming off of a 123-84 blowout win against the Brooklyn Nets at home Thursday night, in which they simply dominated from start to finish.  Chris Paul only scored 6 points in that game, but dished out 17 assists getting everyone else on the team going, with Blake Griffin leading the way on 24 points and 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.

The Clippers are on a roll, winning three in a row, and nine of their last twelve games.  The Suns will have to come out sharp and focused to get the win tonight, and can't afford to come out playing disjointed and out of sync the way they did against the Rockets, or they will be met with the same result.

Tale of the Tape:

Probable Starting Lineups

Team
Suns
Clippers
PG
Eric Bledsoe
Chris Paul
SG
Goran Dragic
J.J. Redick
SF
P.J. Tucker
Matt Barnes
PF
Markieff Morris
Blake Griffin
C
Alex Len
DeAndre Jordan

What To Watch For:

  • Protect the Paint - The Clippers feature a tandem of the most athletic big men in the league, with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan looking to dunk everything that moves.  The Suns can't allow either to establish position in the low post, or they will certainly pay for it.  While Blake Griffin has improved his jump-shooting, outside shots are still the most preferable shot to force him into taking, and the Suns need to box out in anticipation of the miss, which leads to...
  • Rebounding - The Clippers are actually slightly worse at rebounding than the Suns, grabbing an average of 41.2 boards per game compared to Phoenix at 42.5.  The Clippers' biggest threat in this department is DeAndre Jordan, who uses his tremendous length and athleticism to grab anything he can get his hands on...and is averaging a very impressive 13.4 rebounds per game.  Alex Len, Brandan Wright, and Miles Plumlee need to make sure to get their bodies between Jordan and the basket to deny him a chance at the ball, and let one of the other players rotate down to secure the ball.  If they can keep DeAndre off the glass, they should win this battle.
  • Play Hard, But Smart - The majority of the Suns looked like they were half-asleep during the first three quarters of the game against Houston on Saturday night...Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas being the main exceptions.  Key players either struggled offensively or defensively, got into foul trouble, or received technicals that really cost the team.  Tonight, the Suns need to come out focus and prepared to play with energy and intensity, but also keeping their emotions under control at the same time.  This game is almost certain to get chippy at times, with both teams having a history of altercations and trash talking on the court.  But the Suns can't afford to let their emotions get the best of them resulting in flagrants, technicals, or ejections; or force coach Hornacek's hand in benching them if they argue with the refs either.

Prediction:

Oh boy.  I think this game could end up being a slug fest, both metaphorically, and perhaps literally as well. These two teams just don't like each other, and you can almost certainly expect this to manifest itself on the court in one way or another tonight.  For the Suns' sake, I hope they let their play do the talking instead of their mouths.  Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and Matt Barnes are professional irritants who know just how to push the right buttons and embed themselves underneath the opposition's skin.  The Suns can't win by falling into their trap.  Instead, they need to remain focused at the task at hand, and channel their rage through their play.

I expect the Suns to come out with a chip on their shoulder this afternoon after a lackluster performance against the Rockets.  This is the perfect game for the Suns to right the ship and re-establish their winning ways with a statement win over one of their biggest Pacific Division rivals.

If they can remain under control while giving it their all, I expect the Suns to edge out the Clippers in a close one.

Suns win 113-109.




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