Within four days of their “win of the year” against the Dallas Mavericks, the Suns, led by a transcendent performance fromEric Bledsoe
almost had another one. The problem wasBlake Griffin
was just a little bit better. The forward primarily known for his arial antics (which there were plenty of) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Clippers a 121-120 overtime victory in a thriller of a game.
Griffin finished with 45 points and eight rebounds including one ridiculous dunk.
The Clippers took a 12-point lead near the end of the third quarter and looked like they were going to run away with it multiple times, but Bledsoe refused to let it happen.
Bledsoe scored eight points in a row, and the last two came off a pair of technical free throws that gave the Suns their first lead since the opening of the third.
Alex Len who had an otherwise strong game missed a reverse lay-up at the five minute mark and then compounded it by immediately fouling Chris Paul who drained two free throws to give the Clippers a 107-103 lead.
A deep three by Bledsoe and then a basket by Markieff Morris and free throw from Gerald Green allowed the Suns to tie the game at 112 at just under 30 seconds left. A last-ditch effort by Chris Paul at the rim was soundly rejected by Bledsoe at the rim and we had overtime.
The Suns had a nearly flawless offensive performance in extra time moving the ball on a string and generating two open threes for Markieff Morris, who hit both of them.
After an offensive rebound by Green off a Bledsoe miss with just over five seconds left, the Suns looked as if they had the game on ice. The refs instead called a shot clock violation stating that Dragic’s shot missed the rim (it was nearly impossible to tell on replay). That’s when Griffin broke the hearts of Suns fans everywhere, his contested three bouncing off the rim once defying physics and promptly dropping in to give the Clippers their eighth straight win.
The Backcourt has a game
Goran Dragic and Bledsoe continued their run of impressive play combining for 27 points in the first half on a scalding 10-15 from the field.
Bledsoe, who got eviscerated by his former mentor Chris Paul the last time these two teams met up, finished with his first career triple double 27 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds (predicted by a certain Valley of the Suns writer). The triple double was the first for a Suns player since 2006, ending the league’s longest drought. Bledsoe fought through contact on multiple lay-ups and had a number of pretty dump off passes to Alex Len for easy dunks. Bledsoe ended an otherwise perfect half by fouling Jared Cunningham with half a second left as the former Oregon State Beaver drained a 25 footer.
Dragic in particular shot the ball well hitting two threes and a long two in transition in addition to a buzzer. The Slovenian guard continued his run of behind the back lay-ups hesitating just enough to open up a lane and then bursting through it.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Bledsoe and Dragic can maintain this level of play when Isaiah Thomas comes back. Before Thomas’s injury each averaged under 31 minutes a game in the six games since they’ve both jumped over 35.
No Answer To The Blake Show
Blake Griffin had himself a night against a rotating cast of helpless Suns big men. Griffin hit a three and a couple of other long jumpers and was at least as effective out of the post. Even when Len had strong defense, Griffin would just hang in the air a second longer and hit a shot. As always, Griffin and fellow Lob City tenet DeAndre Jordan were unstoppable in transition, yet on a night of absurd dunks this one by Griffin stood out.
He catches the ball off-balance with all of his momentum going forward. A man of lesser athleticism would have likely traveled or dribbled the ball off his foot. Griffin instead uncorked that beauty in which his body was almost horizontal to the ground.
Highs And Lows For Len And Tolliver
Some early foul trouble for Markieff Morris and Miles Plumlee resulted in heavy minutes for this odd couple and they delivered…sort of. Len finished the night with 14 points and seven rebounds. He benefited from Bledsoe getting into the lane at will and finished easy dunk after easy dunk. On the not so good side when Len wasn’t open, he had trouble going up and over Jordan, who sent a number of Len’s shots right back at him. Len had a couple of other mishaps in the final minutes before fouling out on a Griffin jumper.
Tolliver tied his season high draining 3-of-5 shots from behind the arc. The big man didn’t make a shot from anywhere else on the court and was a nonfactor defensively. His presence was partially responsible for Dragic and Bledsoe’s success taking one of the Clippers bigs out of the paint.