Game #33 | December 30, 2013
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers got off to an ominous start Monday: three turnovers, one miss and a nine-point deficit in less than two minutes.
It didn’t get any better from there. The Phoenix Suns, in Eric Bledsoe’s return to Los Angeles, blew out the Clippers, 107-88, at Staples Center, ending a five-game home winning streak and handing them their widest margin of defeat of the season.
It was the third loss in four games for the Clippers (21-12), who hold a tenuous lead in the Pacific Division over the upstart Suns (19-11).
“We were awful,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought the first three plays of the game basically showed the difference in the two teams tonight. We couldn’t even make a simple entry pass, so give them all the credit.”
The Clippers committed 20 turnovers, including five in the first quarter when the Suns earned an 11-1 lead before most fans settled in their seats. And even after the Clippers pulled ahead by one a few minutes later, things never seemed in order. They fumbled passes, missed layups and allowed Phoenix to beat them in transition and from distance.
“They beat us in everything,” said Chris Paul, who had 11 points, seven assists and two steals. “We can’t say we beat them in anything, fast-break points, anything, and that doesn’t happen too many nights in the NBA. It was just an old fashioned butt whooping and they did it from beginning to end.”
Blake Griffin scored 15 points with five rebounds in 28 minutes and did not return to the game after being subbed with 2:16 left in the third quarter and his team down by 27. The Suns would push their lead to 88-59. The 29-point deficit was the largest of the season for the Clippers, who had not trailed by more than 14 points at home at any previous point this season.
Darren Collison had 11 points off the bench and Matt Barnes added 13 points and four rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had 19 rebounds and Jamal Crawford matched Griffin with a team-high 15 points. But the Clippers were buried by the Suns, who outshot them by nearly 12 percent from the field and went 12-for-31 from 3-point range. Goran Dragic scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the first half and Gerald Green added 21 off the bench.
Bledsoe had seven points and four assists in 31 minutes in his first regular-season game against the Clippers since he was traded along with Caron Butler for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley in July.
“It just seemed like everything was going so right for them and so wrong for us,” Collison said. “It’s nothing but our fault. We take full [responsibility]. But it’s back to the lab and get ready to work.”
For the second game in a row, the Clippers put up their lowest scoring first half at home. They shot just 30.4 percent, made one 3-pointer and trailed, 61-40, at halftime. Turnovers, missed shots, and an inability to match Phoenix’s energy all plagued the Clippers.
Against Utah on Saturday, they mustered enough to pull out a 98-90 victory. They had no such push in them Monday.
“They completely got into us, were far more physical and took us out of everything,” Rivers said. “And we didn’t have a lot of fight back tonight.”
Ryan Hollins, who missed the Utah game due to personal reasons, was back on the bench Monday. He did not play… Stephen Jackson made his first 3-pointer of the season after missing his first 12 attempts… It was the Suns’ first victory on the road against the Clippers since a 91-87 win on Mar. 15, 2012… The Clippers are 13-3 at home this season… Jordan had 16 or more rebounds for the tenth time this season. His 19 boards moved him into second in the NBA in rebounds per game (13.4)… It was the first time the Clippers trailed by 29 points or more by the end of the third quarter since Apr. 12, 2010 when they were losing 99-69 to Dallas… Griffin’s 15 points and five rebounds snapped a streak of six 20-10 games in a row and back-to-back games with 35 points or more…
Clippers guard Chris Paul on the game:
Clippers forward Jared Dudley on the offense:
Suns guard Eric Bledsoe on his improvement this season:
Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek on the difference in the game:
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on his overall impressions of the game:
|Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on whether or not the game was the worst loss of the season:
“It’s not the worst loss. Portland and Golden State are the worst losses. This is the worst we’ve played.”
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CROWN ROYAL SHOT OF THE GAME
By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen