Los Angeles Clippers 103, Phoenix Suns 77 — Chippy blowout

Posted by on December 24th, 12:57 am

PHOENIX — It was hard to believe by the end of the ballgame, but midway through the second quarter the Suns trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by a mere three points.

That’s when Chris Paul re-entered the game to engineer a 15-3 run to end the half before Los Angeles dominated the third quarter to the tune of 33-17 to hand the Suns their worst home loss of the season by far, 103-77.

“Tonight they took it to us, no excuses,” said Suns wing Jared Dudley. “They were just the better team. Offensively, we couldn’t stop them. They hit a lot of threes. We tried to take away their down low, Blake was doing a good job of that. Through our turnovers and bad offense that led to them getting easy points; that’s a team you really can’t afford that to. Then, we tried to stop their bench and Crawford had a big day. Everything they wanted to do, they did it and everything we tried to take away, we didn’t.”

In the process, the Clippers extended a franchise record by winning their 13th straight game (the longest such streak in the NBA this season) while snapping a 10-game losing streak in the Valley of the Sun. Los Angeles also won its sixth straight road game for the first time in franchise history, a record that previously belonged to the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.

Los Angeles earned this victory on the defensive end of the floor by limiting Phoenix to 36.3 percent shooting and holding the Suns without a three-pointer until the fourth. The Suns missed 14-of-17 long balls for the game, including all eight through three quarters, while Los Angeles drilled 11-of-21.

“It’s really tough playing uphill against that team,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “When you’re playing from behind against that team it becomes very difficult because they’re so good defensively.”

This contest was marred by six technical fouls and some chippy play on both ends. Jermaine O’Neal and Ronny Turiaf got involved in a staredown with a bit of pushing in the second quarter, and in the third quarter Marcin Gortat received a technical for swinging his elbow (Blake Griffin seemed to pretend like he got hit) and DeAndre Jordan stuck his elbow out at the end of a play in an aggressive manner to earn one as well.

That followed a first half in which the Clippers shot 13 free throws to the Suns’ four, and before this one turned into a rout in the fourth it seemed like the game was far enough of control that it would not take much to escalate into a bigger issue.

“It wasn’t a real basketball game,” Gortat said. “There was a lot of wrestling, a lot of fighting, and just basically was not the performance we expected from us.

“I think at some point we stopped playing basketball, we stopped executing and doing stuff that we are supposed to do. We started wrestling and started worrying about referees and we started complaining more and we just didn’t play basketball. We can’t get discouraged, at some point we lost our composure and we just have to stay strong in our minds.”

Gentry received his technicals for explaining to official Rodney Mott that he felt Goran Dragic was fouled on a jumper, which is surprising since Gentry has not received any punishment when he has said far more in the past.

“First of all, I told the team I have to apologize,” he said. “I have to do a better job of keeping my cool in that situation right there. A little frustrated, I thought Goran got hit on the shot and obviously they didn’t call it. He thought I deserved two technical fouls, so that is the way it goes, but I have to do a better job of keeping my cool.”

The Suns overall just unraveled as Paul (17 points, 13 assists, five steals), Griffin (23 points, 11 boards, four steals) and Jamal Crawford (22 points on 12 shots) picked them apart.

On a night the Suns were without Michael Beasley to illness, the rest of the players did little to advance the theory that he’s one of the main problems with the team thus far. Goran Dragic was particularly bad, scoring just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting and dishing one assist while Sebastian Telfair was just as porous with no assists, four turnovers and 3-for-10 shooting. In fact, Jermaine O’Neal had four times as many assists as the Suns’ two point guards, and that’s never good.

Shannon Brown missed 10 of his 13 shots, Gortat pulled down 12 boards but only scored eight points and nobody really caught fire offensively.

Gentry was asked whether there have been any setbacks this weekend after the four-game winning streak, and he said, “No, I mean I don’t judge a whole lot off this game right here. Like I said, I think we are playing the elite team in the league. You know, so obviously their goals are a little bit different than ours. What I would like to see us do is be consistent in what we are doing. This right here kind of got away from us right after halftime. Last night I thought we did fine.”

Gentry understands what he has with this Suns team, and it’s not a squad that can compete with the Clippers’ of the world (or at least that’s what I take from that statement), especially on a night they clamp down defensively and get superb performances from their stars. That’s particularly true when the Suns commit a litany of bad turnovers that lead right to LA buckets, as they did.

Such is life for a lottery team whose four-game winning streak now seems like a distant memory.

And 1

I wrote the Daily Dime lead tonight focusing mainly on the Clippers’ winning streak and how Gentry called them the best team in the league. I also discussed how the Clippers are somewhat like the SSOL Suns in that they are a fun team to watch with an all-world point guard and a freak of nature power forward, and that they better make the most of this window because it doesn’t take much for it to shut, as the Suns learned over the years.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube 

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:02 am

    That was a skid mark of a game. Even before it got physical, which I don’t mind, you could really see that CP3 came out with the mindset to jump on the Suns and shut this one down early. Onto Xmas and the next one.

  • 2 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Nothing has changed, we need to upgrade multiple positions along with the mental attitude, tenacity and professionalism of the players. Nope, this one can’t be blamed on the Bease nor on Gentry and should not be blamed on fatigue, as they have not been worked too hard by the schedule or travel lately, and should take responsibility for getting their own bed rest, exercise and R&R.

    I maintain the belief that this group is better than they play in their off games, and that some calling of accounts and locker room leadership is called for. Also we need one or two more tenacious defensive players, a la Tucker, as well as an affordable outside jump shooter who can can jumpers, but will not stop the ball.

  • 3 SHAZAM // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:24 am

    the suns are the best team in the history of basketball…long live the dynasty.

  • 4 SHAZAM // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

    it was a fantastic game…we are another loss closer to a crap shoot draft pick

  • 5 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:28 am

    I won’t even blame this one on the FO. I’ll give them a pass on this one loss.

  • 6 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 1:58 am

    The Blair Witch Project should definitely move to Power Forward.

  • 7 Elviro (Italy) // Dec 24, 2012 at 2:21 am

    defeat awesome!
    we were not in the field or simply these are our “forces” …
    The Clippers have a show!
    There is no game and there is no grit …. nothing!

  • 8 Polish_fan // Dec 24, 2012 at 2:28 am

    As i said b4 the game. that loss was certain but sure …. i am disappointed that Marshall played only 4 min specially that Telfair wasnt brilliant too….
    Imcstarting to have a weird filling that Alvin cannot teach them (?) the right movement in the defence which is the key to a much better games…..

  • 9 Sillmarillion // Dec 24, 2012 at 6:38 am

    So… Our two centers produced half of the team’s total assists, Dragic couldn’t hit anything (where are those who said he is our best player?) at all and Marshall gets 4 minutes court time? W H Y ? I mean, he can’t be a wrose shooter than those two PGs, but I believe that he is a much better passer.

  • 10 azbballfan // Dec 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Dragic is our most consistent player

    everyone in this game played poorly thats gonna happen on a young team against a disciplined team like the Clips

    The Suns dont have the big guns to compete offensively and they dont have the defense to make up it

    its really as simple as that

    why did Marshall play 4 minutes?

    the game clearly over with 10 minutes left in the third

    if he cant even get garbage time minutes with your team getting its ass handed to them, how is gonna develop in this leauge

  • 11 Victor // Dec 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I am so disappointed with this team… We have a long road ahead of us… I was reading trade rumors and this is what i came up with.. Correct me if im in over my head.. I dont know how trades work but maybe from ur comments ill learn..

    Get rid of:
    -Gortat
    -WJ
    -Telfair

    And try to land one or some of these:
    -Brandon Jennings
    -monta ellis
    -paul millsap
    -demarcus cousins

    Those are just some (non bignames) that we could push for.. PHX has money and we also have assets we could try to exchange for them.. Since we are going to suck, might as well prepare the way for our (hopefully talented) 1st rounder.. Atleast he”ll have a team around him..

  • 12 clipsy-hustle // Dec 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    know this suns fans, we clippers fans know exactly how you feel. Respect.

  • 13 Voqar // Dec 24, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Didn’t really expect the Suns to win and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference but it seemed like the refs thought they were in LA.

    Clippers got away with murder repeatedly and suns got called for a lot of weak fouls.

    Part of the chipiness came from how poorly the game was officiated. Probably part of it came from CP3 incessantly running his mouth.

  • 14 Ty-Sun // Dec 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    @clipsy-hustle

    Thanks. I’m glad the Clippers fans finally have a really great team to cheer for.

    This game was horrid because the Suns were over matched at almost every position on both the 1st and 2nd units, both offensively and defensively. Dragic had a bad game but there are few PGs who don’t have a bad game playing against CP3. There were a few bright spots for the Suns but they were way to few of them to make a difference. Even if the Suns do manage to engineer a mid season trade that brings some good players to the team, the odds are that they will have to trade away some of their best players to get them so the end result will probably be roughly equal and the Suns will still suck for the rest of this season.

    Hopefully the Suns will get lucky in the lottery and the front office will screw up (for them) and actually take a player in the draft with some real potential.

  • 15 Scott // Dec 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    @Victor -

    While I think those rumors are accurate as for who would be most likely to get traded (with Beasley on the block as well), I don’t think the Suns would be shopping for any of the players you mentioned.

    … Though – strangely – this is the first time Monta Ellis looks like the most useful of a group of players mentioned in Suns trade rumors. ;)

  • 16 azbballfan // Dec 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Monta Ellis would be great for the suns

    but who would the Bucks want for him?

    we would probably have to take back samuel dalembert back with 9 mil expiring deal

    and would ellis sign an extension here?

    they would probably want a guard back to replace ellis

    so..what…..Gortat and Brown, and a pick or something for Ellis?

    he would fill a big hole in the scoring department

    but the Suns are terrible in rebounding and D

    so im not sure if he would help with that

  • 17 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    @azbballfan: Monta is great at collecting his own misses, which are many.

  • 18 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I would rather pick up Jennings and let Gogi play the two, which is how he seems to be playing.

  • 19 Ryan // Dec 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Obviously none of us are fully aware of who’s available on the trade market or what the asking price may be. I will say though in the Suns position, they need to see what players they have, that other teams may be interested in. I’d say all members of the team should be made available. What are the Suns building anyway? You’d have to be out of your mind to build a team around any one of the players on this roster(which may be exactly the case) No question there are pieces on this team that would be attractive. I think there just gonna have to eat Beasleys contract, other than him I think the Suns other players and contracts could get something back. Time to blow it up and aquire as many assetts as possible.

  • 20 Scott // Dec 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    @Ryan -

    Well, all Suns players are available for trade except Scola. As you probably know, he can’t be traded till the summer, for contractual reasons.

    As for the Suns trading players … if they still have Blanks in charge for the trade, there’s a fair chance the Suns may end up with a team full of Beasleys.

  • 21 Ty-Sun // Dec 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Exactly, Ryan. The Suns are a team of building blocks looking for a piece to build around. They have several good players but no great player anymore to try to build around. Nash was that player for a while but I’m not sure truing to build around a great point guard really works because a great PG like Nash often makes mediocre players look great which creates the illusion that you have a great team when you really don’t. I think New Orleans went through the same thing in CP3s last few years there too.

    Dragic isn’t Nash and never will be. But Dragic will begin to look more like Nash IF the Suns eventually get him better teammates on the floor with him.

  • 22 Ryan // Dec 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Agreed on Blanks, it wont surprise if Sarver cleans house this summer.

  • 23 Sillmarillion // Dec 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Nash had the same teammates as Dragic now. But Nash was a good PG which made the whole team better. Dragic is a bad/mediocre PG and doesn’t really help the team.

  • 24 bill.thomas // Dec 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    @Sillmarillion: I don’t think he’s a lousy PG, I just think either he wants to play more like a combo guard, or he is not meshing well with these personnel. If you look at the box score from last year’s Houston vs. Clippers game, he had a very large number of assists and played Paul to at least a standstill, tho’ I believe Paul outscored him. Maybe Houston’s system was better for him, I don’t know. Maybe we need to tweak our system.

  • 25 Scott // Dec 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    @bill.thomas -

    Maybe Houston’s coach was better at recognizing who to put on the floor, too. (Some coaches ARE better than others.)

  • 26 ken mcmullen // Dec 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I watch the game cortside the players have to suger cost it but the official s were the worst I see in my life how did blake griffin not get ejected for kicking scola in the hesd the rrf wsd right there when is the league going to step in im fed up with the favertisam

  • 27 Luka // Dec 25, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I’d be happy if we could move Beasley for a defensive SF.

  • 28 bill.thomas // Dec 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    i’d be happy if we could move Beasley for 1000 pounds of dope.

  • 29 Polish_fan // Dec 25, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I would get rid of Dudley (who is not consistent and is an average player – rather role player and not GO TO guy…) and Beasley and mabye some pick got from LAL to get some go to guy who can get a nice shot from a perimeter.

    I would give more chances to Marshall, specially when loosing with 30 points during a game to let him get familiar with nba floors.

    I would work on defense very strong. If they would play better D, then the rest will come. It touches specially Dragic very very poor performance agains CP3 and others – they need to learn how to help Dragic against such a strong PGs.

    The more PnR they plays the more opportunities for post players and not only there are. Why they doesnt do that more often?

    Christms bow out ;)

  • 30 azbballfan // Dec 25, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Regardless of who the Suns trade for they need to come up with an actual plan that doesnt sound like

    ‘lets just barley make the playoffs”

    theres rebuilding

    and then theres spinning your wheels

    have the suns gorilla lock babby, sarver and blanks together in a room until they came up with a plan that ends in long term success.

    would having a better point guard for example help?

    sure

    but the Suns struggled alot even when MV Steve was on the team

    i feel bad for Gentry getting stuck with this team right now,

    Come up with a plan, front office!

  • 31 KeZ // Dec 26, 2012 at 4:24 am

    If we want a go to guy, we should be trading for J.R Smith. That boy can flat out ball…

  • 32 Brandon // Dec 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I love how everyone is so down on Dragic after two subpar games against two of the best PG’s in the league right now. Dragic has been the best and most consistent player on our roster. We need to build around him, we have a roster full of role players, we need a true go to scorer for Dragic to start to look like an all star. Monte Ellis is the player the suns should be truly going after. We have been lacking a true SG for years now. Pull the trigger on the deal NOW, give them whoever they want except Dragic.

Leave a Comment