Tonight, the Phoenix Suns took on the Los Angeles Clippers looking for their third win in a row against the Clippers this season and their fifth consecutive win against them overall. The game started out well for the Suns who jumped out to an early first quarter lead, mainly behind the scoring and rebounding of Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye.
However, once the second quarter started and the bench unit came in things went downhill fast as the Suns only scored 14 points in the second quarter while the bench went scoreless for over six minutes. The starters came back in and eventually made some shots, but the damage had been done and the lead had been lost as the Clippers went into the half up 44-41.
The second half didn't go much better for the Suns as they fell behind by 10 points in the third quarter due to some hot shooting by Caron Butler and Randy Foye. Blake Griffin also had a couple of and-ones and the Suns just couldn't seem to find a rhythm.
The fourth quarter saw some improved play from the bench, namely with Robin Lopez grabbing some offensive rebounds and getting to the line. But it still wasn't enough as the Clippers were able to hold their lead; even after Suns' head coach Alvin Gentry unsuccessfully went to the zone hoping to stop the Clippers the way they did the last time they faced them.
Steve Nash had 15 assists but went scoreless tonight from the field missing all four of his shots and only scoring one point off a technical free throw ... this was likely due to the back issues he was dealing with since last night's game against the San Antonio Spurs. Grant Hill sat out this game with a sore right knee, and his defensive presence was also missed tonight as the Suns just couldn't seem to stop Caron Butler and Randy Foye from scoring in the first half. Marcin Gortat had a good game scoring 23 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, and Channing Frye also contributed nicely with 16 points and 7 rebounds.
For the Clippers it was the Blake Griffin show as he scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Chris Paul also had a great game scoring 15 points and dishing 15 assists as well. DeAndre Jordan hit an impressive 7-8 free throws and ended up with 13 points to go with his 6 rebounds, and Caron Butler contributed nicely with his 14 points as well. The Clippers just out-hustled, out-rebounded and out-scored the Suns tonight ... they deserved this win.
Full recap coming tomorrow morning. This one hurt, but the Suns are still firmly in the playoff race after getting some help when the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets also both lost tonight.
Hang in there Suns fans ... Continue on after the jump for the Game Notes.
Suns without Grant Hill again because of right knee inflammation and also without Markieff Morris out with a cold.
Suns starting Shannon Brown in place of Hill again…let’s hope for another 32 points!
Nice lob break-up by Brown that led to transition dunk for Gortat
Griffin starts out hitting his first two shots…hope that isn’t a bad omen
Dudley hits his first shot and matches his scoring total from yesterday
Frye with a nice offensive rebound and dunk!
Gortat with a nice layup and-1
Frye with a block…playing big man basketball
Dudley hits his second shot…jumper looking smooth for Dudz.
Brown with a circus type layup high off the glass…30 more to go!
Gortat with a great adjustment on a left hand lay-up…Suns up early 15-8 halfway through the first quarter
Clippers now with 7 unanswered points to tie it up…Suns have to keep their foot on the gas.
Frye immediately answers with a 3 to take back the lead
Griffin grabs a rebound off Dudley’s missed three but it was still in the air above the rim when he did it…no goaltending call though.
Suns still holding onto the lead, just barely, now up 20-19
Frye with another 3…that’s his second from long range plus a dunk
Gortat wasn’t comfortable taking that 13 footer from the side…but he drained it
Telfair and Lopez in for Nash and Gortat now
Lopez immediately drives to the rim and finishes with a nice reverse lay-up
Suns lead 27-24 at the end of the 1st quarter. Suns shooting 44%, Clippers 50%. Suns with 12rbs, Clippers with 13rbs. Suns with 2 TO’s, Clippers with 5 TO’s. Gortat leading the Suns with 11 points, Blake Griffin leading the Clippers with 12 points.
The Full bench unit is in for the Suns to start the 2nd quarter…Telfair, Price, Redd, Warrick, and Lopez
Warrick gets to the line and hits both free throws
Three bad possessions after that, two of which lead to easy buckets for the Clippers, and then a foul on Deandre Jordan. Timeout…I wonder if Gentry will change the lineup
Gentry sticks with the same unit after the timeout. Deandre Jordan misses his 2nd free throw but the Clippers get the offensive rebound. The Clippers then get two more offensive rebounds and then get the ball again as it goes out of bounds…that’s the fourth chance at a basket. Gentry can’t be happy
Redd stops the bleeding by getting to the line. Glad to see him use his veteran smarts to get some points.
Still, bench just not in rhythm right now…Gentry has got to be close to making a change
Suns have not scored a field goal yet in the 2nd quarter…Clippers with a four point lead 35-31 midway through.
At this point, why not try Josh Childress?
Gentry putting the starters back in…whew
Frye continues the missing streak with a missed three…that’s now 11 missed shots in a row for the Suns
Gortat missed reverse lay-up…12 misses in a row now
Frye gets to the line and hits both free throws
Dudley gets fouled and argues his way into shooting two free throws although he clearly wasn’t in a shooting motion when it happened. Way to go JD! Dudley missed both free throws…ball doesn’t lie I guess
Finally a field goal! Dudley with a layup that is blocked by Deandre Jordan for a goaltend…
Shannon Brown gets to the line after being fouled behind the arc…Brown hits 1 of 3 but the Suns get the offensive rebound and then Brown hits a 3!
Gortat with an offensive rebound and a nice turnaround jumper…Now has 13 points
Gortat picked up his third personal foul and freturns to the bench
Brown runs down a fast breaking Deandre Jordan and fouls him to make him earn it…Good strategy for a player that shoots 49% Jordan makes both of them though and now has made 7-8 for the night so far
Clippers lead 43-41 at the end of the 1st half. Suns shooting 36%, Clippers 41%. Suns with 26rbs, Clippers with 30rbs. Suns with 5 TO’s, Clippers with 8 TO’s. Gortat leading the Suns with 13 points, Blake Griffin still leading the Clippers with 12 points.
The Suns scored only 14 points in the second quarter, let’s hope the Suns get out to a better start in the third.
Frye hits a jumper to start off the Suns
Caron Butler answers back with a three
Caron Buftler then makes a nice move to create his shot and hits a nice jumper for another 2.
Gentry calls timeout early…he must see something he doesn’t like out there…besides the obvious, that is
Brown with a nice turnaround jumper
Frye going to work on D now…Good help defense on a driving Butler and then plays good D on Griffin causing him to travel
Gortat gets to the line and hits both free throws…now has 19 so far. Suns and clippers now tied at 53-53 midway through the third
Nice off-balance jumper from Frye, he now has 14 points and 7 rebounds
Foye answers back with a three
Redd answers his answer back with a three of his own
Caron Butler really doing his part to help the Clippers…he’s become a factor now with 14 points…Foye is also heating up now with 9 and hasn’t missed a shot yet
Telfair and Lopez are in now for Nash and Gortat
Blake Griffin fouled hard by Lopez at the rim but still hits the shot and-1
Suns going cold again…now just 4-19 from beyond the arc
Nice strong move by Lopez for a basket at the rim
Clippers pulling ahead now…up by 10 near the end of the third
Clippers lead 74-64 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Suns shooting 39%, Clippers 46%. Suns with 34rbs, Clippers with 49rbs. Suns with 6 TO’s, Clippers with 12 TO’s. Gortat leading the Suns with 21 points, Blake Griffin leading the Clippers with 19 points.
Suns defense has really suffered these last two nights without Grant Hill…Even though the Clippers have been missing a fair amount of shots, most of them were still good looks.
Suns bench in to start the fourth quarter…The bench has to play well if the Suns are going to have a chance to come back and get a win
Frye missed a three but Lopez gets the offensive rebound and gets fouled…Robin hits both free throws
Frye goes out and Warrick comes in for him…let’s hope he plays better this time around
Chris Paul having a nice night as he knocks down another jumper…now has 13
Lopez grabs another offensive board and gets to the free throw line again…Nice hustle from Robin who now has 8 points off 4 free throws and two field goals
Nick Young makes his first shot…It’s a three and it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Suns
Dudley misses yet another shot…really bad night of shooting for him after making his first two shots of the game
Nash coming back in…He has 14 assists so far but still hasn’t scored yet…probably not 100% with his back
Lopez with an and-1, Robin hustling hard and trying his best to help the team
Suns going to the zone defensively since it seemed to work so well last game…we’ll see if it works again
Blake Griffin adding to his highlight reel now with two back to back dunks
The Clippers appear to have this one in the bag with the Suns not showing any sign of being able to come back.
Clippers win 103-86. Suns shoot 38%, Clippers 50%. Suns with 49rbs, Clippers with 62rbs. Suns with 10 TO’s, Clippers with 15 TO’s. Gortat led the Suns with 23 points, Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 27 points.
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