POSTGAME REPORT


(21-13)
78

(16-20)
81
Game #34
U.S. Airways Center | Phoenix, AZ
March 2, 2012 | 7:00 PM (PST)
TV: PRIME TICKET | ESPN
RADIO: KFWB 980 AM
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
21 14 17 26 78
17 15 31 18 81
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  • FRIDAY
  • MARCH 4
  • HOUSTON, TX
  • CLIPPERS COME UP SHORT IN PHOENIX - RYAN MENEZES
    It’s hard to avoid the “ugly” games in this NBA season. With both the Clippers and Suns coming off games the night before, their Friday matchup quickly turned into a grind-it-out affair with points coming at a premium.

    Fittingly, the Clippers’ 81-78 loss came with a sloppy finish.

    After erasing a seven-point deficit in two minutes, the Clippers (21-13) gave themselves a chance to steal a win on the Suns’ home floor. But the Clippers shot just 3-for-9 down the stretch while the Suns (16-20) were able to save their quality execution for late.

    Compounding the shooting woes was a crucial loose ball foul call on Blake Griffin, a moment before the Suns were to be whistled for a shot clock violation. The foul erased a defensive stop and instead gave the Suns two free throws, which Steve Nash made to extend the deficit to four with 40 seconds to play.

    “We made a push in the fourth quarter but we couldn’t capitalize,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.

    The Clippers battled back in the game after a miserable third quarter where they made just seven shots and put up 17 points. The Suns couldn’t muster up more than 18 points in the first, second or fourth quarters. But 31 points in the third frame was enough on a rough night for both teams.

    “Guys battled, we just didn’t shoot it,” Del Negro said. “They struggled to shoot it, we struggled to shoot it.”

    Del Negro called the offense “stagnant” at times. The Clippers shot just 37 percent from the field and got to the free-throw line just nine times in the game, making eight.

    The five Clippers’ starters couldn’t get the offense flowing early, with tired legs possibly to blame. They had just six points in the first eight-plus minutes of the game.

    “I felt like we were dead,” Blake Griffin said. “We didn’t have it; talking to everybody there wasn’t a lot of energy, but no excuse, they played last night as well. So, we’ve got to find it somehow, on the second night of a back-to-back.”

    That gave the bench a chance to save the Clippers, which they almost accomplished.

    The second unit’s play was spearheaded by Kenyon Martin’s 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, plus three steals. Martin’s effectiveness on both ends of the court was summarized in his +10 in the plus/minus column, a team high.

    Each starter finished on the wrong side of the plus/minus. Griffin had 17 points to points and seven rebounds to lead the Clippers. Chris Paul had 16 points and five assists.

    “We’re not going to make any excuses or whatever,” Paul said. “At the end of the day we gave ourselves the opportunity to win and the toughest thing is you hate to see a great game like that come down to a shot-clock violation foul.”


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