Setting Suns Look to Sink the Clippers in Phoenix

Feb 1, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (left) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Clippers defeated the Suns 124-114. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (left) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Clippers defeated the Suns 124-114. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (22-53) v Los Angeles Clippers (45-31)

Thursday 3/30/2017 7pm
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Los Angeles leads 3-0
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 130-81
Last Matchup – February 1, 2017 Los Angeles won 124-114
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to Atlanta 95-91
Clippers’ Last Game – Win over Washington 133-124
Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.2 (10th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.0 (29th of 30)
Clippers’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.9 (7th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 104.5 (13th of 30)


When the Suns and Hawks faced-off at Atlanta to finish their six-game road trip, they were in a very unique position: Devin Booker would not dress so he could rest a sore ankle which he aggravated against Charlotte two days prior, and they were also facing a team that, while Atlanta didn’t have the worst record in the league, they were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak in which their offense had completely fallen off the table.

The Suns hung tough. Taking the lead in the fourth quarter for the first time in four games, Phoenix managed to build a seven-point lead, although it was short lived. Too many three’s down the stretch for the Hawks and not enough timely buckets for the Suns did the intentionally short-handed Suns in as Phoenix snuck away with the loss. For a complete recap and some fascinating stats, read here.

The Clippers, now winners of five of their last seven, are currently battling the Utah Jazz for first round home court advantage, only 1.5 games behind the Jazz for fourth in the West. With the Suns, Lakers, Mavericks, and Kings yet to play on the schedule, and a 3-1 series victory over the Jazz this season in the event of a tie, L.A. might sneak into that spot just yet.

Although this season the Clippers have not lived up to the expectations of the past, they still remain a threat in the playoffs. Likely not a team that will make it to the Western Conference Finals due to the unlikeliness that they can get by San Antonio, Golden State, Houston, and possibly even Oklahoma City, Los Angeles needs just five more wins to reach 50 on the season for the fifth consecutive year. However, having made the playoffs the past five seasons, they have never made it out of the Semifinals and seems destined to meet that fate this year as well.

Rumors have percolated for the past season or two that this is the offseason when the Clippers will begin to rebuild, especially with both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin having the option of exercising early termination clauses to become free agents, coupled with J.J. Reddick being an unrestricted free agent as well. This means that the run of this version of the Clippers may be about a month from coming to an end.

On the bight side of it all, John Gambadoro reported today that he believes that Dragan Bender will return to the lineup this Saturday.

Three Interesting Stats

Phoenix Suns

1. The franchise’s longest losing streak is 13 games, set in the beginning of the 1996-97 season, and then tied last season. That streak is in jeopardy over these final few games with a potential loss to the Golden State Warriors (if a win hasn’t happened in between) being the record setter.

2. If the Suns lose out, they will lose 60 games on the season for the first time since their inaugural year of 1968-69 when the team finished 16-66. If the Suns do happen to win one more game it will mean the first time in franchise history that the team has held the same record in back-to-back seasons. The closest that has come to occurring was in 1970-72 when they finished with 48 and 49 wins, and then a remarkable four season stretch of consistency from 1988-92 when they finished with 55, 54, 55, 53 wins.

3. Prior to this season, the most losses the franchise had ever incurred was from their first two seasons in 1968-69 and 1969-70 when they lost a combined 109. With seven games remaining on the schedule, the Suns already have 112 losses when combined with last season’s 59, setting the franchise record.

Los Angeles Clippers

1. If the Clippers do defeat the Suns tonight it will be the second time in three seasons that they have swept the Suns, the first time occurring in 2014-15 – their first sweep of the Suns in franchise history.

2. Throughout all of the Clippers history of futility, the Suns have swept a season series with them on 11 different occasions, dating back to the 1972-73 season when the swept the then Buffalo Braves in four games. The Suns swept the San Diego Clippers six times in 1980-81, and most recently swept them in 2009-2010.

3. The 116.3 points per game the Clippers average against the Suns in three games this season is the most they average against any team in the league save for the Brooklyn Nets who allowed Los Angeles to score 124.5 against them, although they split the series, losing in double overtime the weekend after Thanksgiving (minus Blake Griffin). Fortunately the Clippers would need to score exactly 150 points on the Suns to raise their season average against Phoenix to 125, surpassing the Brooklyn average. But that will never happen…Will it? (The last time the Clippers scored at least 150 points was on March 13, 1998 when the Clippers defeated the Toronto Raptors 152-120, on their way to a 65 loss season. The closest the Clippers have come in the last decade is the 124 they scored against the Suns in their last matchup and have never scored more than 138 against Phoenix in an overtime victory over the Suns in November of 1988.