NBA Game Summary - LA Clippers at Phoenix|
(Wednesday, April 2nd)
Final Score: LA Clippers 112, Phoenix 108
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul scored 20 points, handed out nine
assists and knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer down the stretch as the Los
Angeles Clippers rallied for a 112-108 victory over the playoff-hopeful
Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
The Clippers trailed by 17 late in the third quarter yet still came back to
win their fourth straight game and clinch the Pacific Division title.
"It's nice. But it doesn't really say much. We won the division title last
year and lost in the first round," Paul said.
Blake Griffin and Darren Collison both netted 23 points and Matt Barnes
chipped in with 19 for LA, which doubled up Phoenix, 34-17, in the fourth.
The Suns dropped their second straight game despite eight players scoring in
double figures. They fell back into a tie with Memphis and Dallas in a race
for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
"They can go small, and they can go big. They have both options. That's why
they're a great team," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Marcus Morris dropped a team-high 16 points, while Goran Dragic and Gerald
Green went for 15 apiece.
The Clippers scored 11 of the first 15 points of the fourth quarter to pull
within 95-89, closed the gap to one, 104-103, after scoring on four straight
possessions and took their first lead of the second half when Jared Dudley
made two free throws with 2:38 remaining.
After Eric Bledsoe answered with a floater for Phoenix, Paul beat the shot
clock with a crowd-silencing 32-footer and Griffin cleaned up a Barnes miss
for a 110-106 LA lead with 49.5 seconds remaining.
Bledsoe put in a quick two to make it a one-possession game again, but
following two Paul misses and a jump ball that went Phoenix's way, Bledsoe was
blocked by Collison with 10.9 ticks to go.
Dudley's two free throws wrapped up his 12-point night and the Clippers'
Despite Dragic and P.J. Tucker combining to shoot 2-of-10 from the field in
the first half, the Suns went into the locker room with a 62-60 lead.
The reason was strong bench play in the second quarter, as Morris and Green
scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, in the frame to erase a 30-25 deficit
heading into it.
A Paul 3-pointer evened things at 69-69 2:20 into the third, but the Clippers
went nearly five minutes without hitting another field goal. Phoenix's
subsequent 15-2 run, highlighted by Miles Plumlee's running hook shot in the
lane while being fouled, yielded the game's first double-digit cushion.
Tucker's three-point play inside the final two minutes extended the difference
to 91-74, and it was 13-point margin in Phoenix's favor entering the fourth.
The Suns shot 36.6 percent from the field in the second half after making 56.8
percent in the first ... The Clippers moved within 1 1/2 games of the Oklahoma
City Thunder for the second seed in the Western Conference ... Griffin missed
LA's previous game with a back injury ... The Clippers will play five in a row
at home before finishing the season in Portland against the Trail Blazers
... LA won the season series, 3-1.
04/03 02:31:36 ET