Game Thread: Clippers (8-23) at Suns (18-12)

Suns 106, Clippers 98

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Clippers

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After playing just one game in a stretch of eight days around the Spurs game on Christmas, the Suns’ tilt with the Clippers tonight will be their only game in a seven-day stretch starting with Wednesday’s off-day.

It’s a strange schedule for a Suns team that will more than make up for it later in the month, but it also means they really better beat the Clippers tonight so as not to have that bad taste in their mouths for the next four days.

Yes, four days of rest, the same amount of time Brandon Webb and Dan Haren get between starts.

That should make for a spry Shaquille O’Neal, important against a Clippers front line that boasts defensive standout Marcus Camby, although Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman are injured.

With a backcourt of Baron Davis and Eric Gordon and Al Thornton on the wing, I expected the Clippers to be better than a team battling it out with rebuilding Sacramento to avoid the Pacific Division’s cellar.

If Elton Brand had re-signed as expected, on paper the Clips looked to be a definite playoff team and even a potential contender in the muddled group behind the Lakers in the West.

After acquiring Camby for nothing to replace Brand, I figured the Clippers would at least be respectable and make a run at a playoff spot before eventually falling short, but they’ve been anything but close to being a solid NBA team.

The Clippers’ problems stem from the offensive end of the court, where they rank dead last in offensive efficiency at 96.8 points per 100 possessions and second to last in scoring at 93.5 points per game. The Suns rank fourth in both categories, averaging 108.5 points per 100 possessions and 103.0 points per game.

I don’t think the Suns will look past the Clippers, especially with no game to look ahead to until Wednesday. Expect a Suns win in dominant fashion.

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