Taking care of business. The Phoenix Suns (35-33) did what they were supposed to do this afternoon in L.A., they beat the Clippers (27-44) and now look forward to a showdown with L.A. Lakers on Tuesday. We are now 2 games behind Memphis for the final 8th seed in the West.
This season the Suns hadn't fared particularly well in their mid-day games going only 2-2 in those situations before today. But today the Suns played hard physical basketball for a full 48 minutes and coupled the effort with smart defense and efficient offense.
Steve Nash finished with 23 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds (3 shy of his 4th career triple-double) while the combination of Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick defensively held Rookie of the Year shoe-in Blake Griffin to 17 points on 6-18 shooting and only 2 rebounds and 3 assists. That's no feat to roll your eyes at - just yesterday Griffin posted 30 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists whereas today he was constantly frustrated and ultimately fouled out halfway through the 4th quarter on a controversial charge call as he viciously dunked over Marcin Gortat.
|Final - 3.20.2011||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||23||26||29||21||99|
A few more Sunday tidbits after the jump.
If you were like me and worried about Steve Nash's health coming into this game then we couldn't be more encouraged with the effort, mobility and pep that Steve had in his step today. He looked healthy and was filling the stat scoring as well as dishing and grabbing rebounds. If this Suns team is going to make the playoffs, that destiny hinges on Steve's health and the most encouraging stat that I noticed in that regards is how many 3pt shots he hit. In both today's game and Friday's win v. the Warriors - He made 3 (3-4 on Friday, 3-3 today), something he hadn't done since February 15. That my friends is a good sign. Steve might be back. Stay tuned.
The next major factor of this Suns victory was the bench. In the absence of Aaron Brooks due to his league issued suspension, Zabian Dowdell, Warrick, Dudley and Gortat came up big as they scored 51 points and played with major defensive intensity when they were in the game forcing turnovers and difficult shots from the Clippers.
This was a good win all around - now let's look ahead to Tuesday's matchup with the Lakers who will be without Bynum missing two games for a Flagrant 2 foul he committed against Minnesota's Michael Beasley yesterday.
P.S. - I just wanted to throw this out there because normally I'm an avid Vince Carter hater - He played pretty well today, he had a little elevation on his jump-shot and had some big assists and rebounds. I like what he did today. The end.
Let us and the whole cyber-world know what you thought of today's game below in the comment section.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday amigos!
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THIS GAME STARTS AT 12:30 PM ARIZONA TIME! CONSIDER THIS POST YOUR GAME THREAD HOMIES!
We are coming down to the wire here this season - we only have 15 games left and we are currently a game behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West. Only 15 games left... That doesn't seem like much but we can at least look for playoff hopes in the fact that 15 games is the most games that any team has left to play in the Western Conference. Maybe I should have worded that with a little more positivity, like Paul Coro did in his game preview,
The Suns probably need to pile up wins like they never have this season. That makes having more games to play than any other team in the playoff race a good thing, especially when they have to pass three teams to get in the postseason door. Phoenix's best run this season was an 11-3 stretch.
There is a strong chance that 11-4, which would put the Suns at 45-37, would not be good enough, but they can at least look at Friday night's win against Golden State and feel as if they resemble that type of team. With forward Channing Frye back in the lineup and point guard Steve Nash back to form, their hopes at getting hot down the stretch gained traction.
An armed intruder stormed onto the Staples Center court just over an hour before Saturday's matinee matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Though authorities don't know what the man's intentions or motivations were, he was brandishing a knife, and was eventually brought down after a hail of rubber bullet fire from security guards and police officers after a 20-minute standoff and led into custody. No fans, authorities, or members of either organization were hurt or seriously threatened.
I'm going to give a shot at making cheesy keys here like the guys on t.v. do. Here they are,
Lunch Pail - no Breakfast Buffet
Bench Marks the Spot
But what do they mean Eutychus!?!?!?
I'm glad you asked.
Lunch Pail - no Breakfast Buffet - Though it's an early start (12:30 AZ Time) game... it's late enough to be lunch time not breakfast time so let's limit the turnovers (Captain Obvious assumes turnovers of a wide variety such as cherry, apple, boysenberry, raspberry, pinnapple, etc., are served in a breakfast buffet) and lets play hard and smart basketball for 48 minutes. Get it? Bring your lunch pail = hard work?
Bench Marks the Spot - You know when you are on your buddy's clipper boat, and he leans over to you and is like, "Yo man I got this treasure map you want to look for the treasure that is marked on this treasure map by a big X?" Yeah this key to the game is kind of like that. Except we're going to be riding dirty all over the L.A. Clippers and our bench in is going to be the 'X' that marks the treasure that is a win.
It all starts with Aaron Brooks who needs to play better and he knows it - the Clippers will be a good team for him to light up, hopefully he can lead our squad - and I agree with what Eddie Johnson and Tom Chambers were saying during Friday's game. They said Brooks is trying to hard to be like Nash - and needs to be the score-first PG that he is, it's like he's having an identity crisis now that he's with Steve... I think we've seen this before. Hopefully he can snap out of it.
So I just wrote this whole thing about A.B. needing to have a great game and this pops up on my twitter,
With that news... this key becomes even more important - but now it will be up to Dr.Z and March G to make the wheels on the short-bus go round and round. Jared Dudley always brings his 'A' game - let's hope this 2nd unit can band together and make up for the loss of Brooks today. Dang.
Flatulation Suppressimavation - Don't stink Suns. That's all I ask.
Okay so I suck at these horrible cliche-dripping 'keys to the game' things... I'll never do this again. (*fingers probably crossed)
Let's get er' done. After all - "It's the Final Countdown!" [Europe voice].
Consider this your game thread as well.
The Los Angeles Clippers are a dangerous team, far more so then their reputation and record (27-43) would indicate. The Phoenix Suns found that out once already this season when they went into Staples Center and got beat by Blake Griffin's fresh new team on December 26.
Eric Gordon returned to the Clippers lineup yesterday, and they won the game. Coincidence? Well, not really. Of the past 44 games, Gordon has missed 24. In the 20 he's played, the Clippers are 15-5 - in the 24 he's missed, they're 7-17. That's 10 games over .500 with him, 10 under .500 without him. It's hard to explain why Gordon has such a massive impact on the team. He's their leading scorer of course, and far and away their biggest perimeter threat. He also happens to be the team's best perimeter defender, so he's helping on both sides of the ball. But still, it doesn't seem to explain the numbers. One thing that is difficult to quantify is the virtuous cycle with Gordon on the floor (or conversely the vicious cycle without him). Defenses have to worry about another top scorer, and not just key on Blake Griffin. Gordon is the best deep threat, which opens up more space for Griffin. With more space and more freedom, Griffin is better with Gordon. And as Griffin gets better, Gordon gets more open looks. Against the lowly Cavs yesterday, Gordon and Griffin did it almost all alone - they scored 59 of the team's 100 points. Against the Suns, who are still fighting for a playoff spot, they're going to need more help. Chris Kaman is a likely candidate to step up - he's been awful the last two games, but was looking really solid before that.