December 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) moves the ball against the defense of Phoenix Suns power forward Markieff Morris (11) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Suns face Clippers on day’s rest


Dec. 23, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) is guarded by the Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) and guard Chris Paul (3) in the first half at US Airways Center. The Clippers defeated the Suns 103-77. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 23, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) is guarded by the Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) and guard Chris Paul (3) in the first half at US Airways Center. The Clippers defeated the Suns 103-77. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

After bouncing back against the Sixers Saturday night the Suns head back on the road coming off only one day’s rest to face the Los Angeles Clippers behind their star point guard Chris Paul, who is averaging a double-double in points and assists.

The 18-11 Suns travel to the Staples Center to face the 21-11 Los Angeles Clippers Monday night in what will be the first meeting of the season for the two teams. The Suns defeated the Sixers Saturday night following the embarrassing loss to the Warriors the night before. Miles Plumlee led the way for the Suns with a career-high 22 points and added 13 rebounds and three blocks to win decisively against the well-rested Sixers 115-101. Dragic and Bledsoe combined for 41 points in what was a much needed win for a tired Suns team.

Key Matchup:

Goran Dragic versus Chris Paul. Dragic bounced back from a bad game Saturday night by scoring 21 points against a well-rested Sixers team. Dragic needs to continue that streak Monday night against the Clippers.  For the Clippers, Chris Paul is averaging 22.5 points and 10.1 assists in his last 10 games in which the Clippers have gone 7-3. He will be the focus of the Suns defense.

Key stat:

Fast-Break points. The Suns offense woke up against the Sixers Saturday night with 31 fast-break points while holding the speedy Sixers to only 19 points. The Suns will need another big night in this category if they stand a chance against the Clippers.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

Plumlee in the paint. Plumlee is coming off a career-high 22 points against the Sixers. Plumlee was a big presence in the paint, securing 13 rebounds to add to the career-high in points. He will try to duplicate that high Monday night when he will have to face Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Inside game. Blake Griffin is coming off a 40-point performance against the Utah Jazz Saturday night. The Suns will need the Morris Brothers and Plumlee will need to play physical to keep Griffin from repeating his 13-20 shooting from the field and 14-17 shooting from the free-throw line from Saturday night.

Los Angeles Clippers sleeper to have a good game:

Jamal Crawford has averaged 19.3 points per game in his last 10 games. His streaky explosive offensive game can cause defenses headaches. The Suns will need to limit his open shots if they expect to neutralize Crawford.

Prediction: The Suns win in a close one against the Clippers 108-104.

 

Tags: Basketball Blake Griffin Chris Paul Clippers Eric Bledsoe Game Previews Goran Dragic Los Angeles Clippers Marcus Morris Markieff Morris Miles Plumlee NBA Phoenix Suns Suns