Clippers move to 3-0, keep Suns winless
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[November 01, 2016]
LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't the
cleanest exhibition of Los Angeles Clippers' basketball, but it was
spotless at times and enough to get past the Phoenix Suns.
Chris Paul scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half and the
Clippers routed the winless Suns 116-98 on Monday night at Staples
Paul also had eight assists and five rebounds. Blake Griffin added
21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers (3-0).
"I thought we were sloppy with the ball, myself in particular," said
Griffin, who made 12 of 14 free throws. "I think we did what we
wanted to do towards the end of the first half, created a lead and
played good basketball. The second half we came out and we were
sloppy and then we picked it back up. That's a good thing."
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan showed no ill effects from a sprained
right thumb suffered in Sunday's win over the Utah Jazz, finishing
with 19 points and 11 boards. Jamal Crawford added 14 points and
J.J. Redick scored 13.
"I feel great," said Jordan, who hit eight of 10 attempts from the
field and three of six foul shots.
"It was a scary play for a second. I really wanted to play
basketball. I don't want to miss any games. My teammates were
definitely on me about getting it taken care of, but I'm fine."
The Suns weren't. They were without guard Devin Booker, who sat out
with a sore right big toe. Booker apparently aggravated the injury
in Sunday's 106-100 loss to Golden State.
"Like I said, not having one player for us is major," Suns coach
Earl Watson said. "We need every player to be healthy, every player
to be on the court and be active and have a role. We're all are
parts that we need each other to create a total sum."
Brandon Knight started in Booker's place and led the Suns with 18
points. T.J. Warren had 15 points and Alex Lin came off the bench to
score 13 for Phoenix (0-4).
Eric Bledsoe contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists
for the Suns.
"We always get in foul trouble early," Bledsoe said. "They were
shooting free throws the whole game."
The Suns were whistled for 33 fouls compared to 23 for the Clippers.
However, that wasn't what beat the Suns.
"The effort was there we just couldn't get stops," Warren said.
Los Angeles broke the game open midway through the third quarter.
Two free throws by Knight allowed the Suns to close within 56-55
with 7:12 remaining in the quarter. However, the Clippers used a
22-9 spurt, capped by two foul shots by Marreese Speights, for a
78-63 lead with 1:56 left in the third.
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Suns guard Brandon Knight (11) collides with Los Angeles Clippers
center Marreese Speights (5) during the second half at Staples
Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The Suns never recovered.
Defense again was the key for Los Angeles.
"I think our (defensive improvement) started last year and just
carried over," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We regressed for
like three minutes tonight before halftime, we had a chance to go up
big and we went to turnovers, trying to make home run plays and they
cut the lead."
The Clippers rallied from a 31-28 deficit in the second quarter with
a 16-5 run for a 44-33 advantage after dunk by Griffin with 3:14
left in the second quarter. They led 48-36 at the break, outscoring
the Suns 24-12 in the second.
Fifteen first-half turnovers, 11 of those in the second quarter,
also hurt the Suns. The Clippers committed nine miscues, four of
those occurring in the second quarter.
Overall, Phoenix turned the ball over 21 times (leading to 16
points) compared with 16 (23 points) for Los Angeles.
The Clippers outshot the Suns 50 percent to 41.7 percent from the
NOTES: Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Suns F T.J. Warren, who led
Phoenix in scoring at 23.3 points per game coming in, caught his eye
early last season. "He's a professional scorer at a young age,"
Rivers said. "He had an awful game that game against us, but you
could see the raw ability that he has. He has timing, feel, change
of pace. He's going to be a great scorer in our league." ... Suns
coach Earl Watson said PG Chris Paul, not F Blake Griffin or C
DeAndre Jordan, remains the most integral player for the Clippers.
"Chris is a coach on the floor, he reads the game, everything he
does is with a purpose," Watson said. ... Both clubs resume play
Wednesday at home. Phoenix plays the Portland Trail Blazers, and Los
Angeles meets the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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