POSTGAME REPORT


(25-26)
86

(29-21)
103
Game #50
STAPLES CENTER | Los Angeles, CA
March 28, 2012 | 7:30 PM (PST)
TV: PRIME TICKET
RADIO: KFWB 980 AM
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
27 14 23 22 86
24 19 31 29 103
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  • FRIDAY
  • MARCH 30
  • LOS ANGELES, CA
  • CLIPPERS TOP SUNS FOR 3RD STRAIGHT
    - RYAN MENEZES
    LOS ANGELES–The Suns, undefeated in two tries against the Clippers this season, were going to be a test for a Clipper team in need of one.

    The Clippers responded by continuing their winning streak in emphatic fashion with a 106-83 win, their third straight, all by double digits. It also made it five in a row at home for the Clippers, who last lost in Staples Center to the same Suns team on March 15.

    “We’re playing good basketball right now,” DeAndre Jordan said. “We went through a couple of games and things are just starting to turn around for us here a little bit.”

    Difference Maker: Blake Griffin, who made highlight reels with a handful of show-stopping plays that kept the Suns at bay.

    Just before the end of the third quarter, Griffin took a hard foul from Robin Lopez, but even while falling was able to switch the ball between his hands and make the layup. One of his most emphatic dunks of the year came late in the fourth quarter on a pick-and-roll with Chris Paul where Griffin hesitated before cutting to the basket, then went full speed ahead. Paul delivered a bounce pass between two defenders and Griffin took off for the slam over Channing Frye. Griffin followed that up with a steal on the very next play that led to an easy alley-oop from Paul.

    While each play stirred the Staples Center crowd, it was of greater importance that they all came at a time when the Clippers needed to maintain a lead, something they haven’t been able to do with consistency this season.

    “We played with a sense of urgency,” Paul said. “We were up eight or nine at one point – could have easily dropped to five or four. We pushed it to 14, 15 and put them away.”

    Turning Point: Led by Randy Foye, the Clippers gained some breathing room on the Suns in the third quarter. Foye made all four shots he took in the quarter, finishing with nine points. His jumper that broke a 58-all tie was gave the Clippers a lead they maintained for the rest of the game.

    As a team the Clippers shot 54.2 percent (13-of-24) in the quarter, while the Suns missed a good amount of open looks.

    Stat Line of the Night: Griffin had 27 points on 13-of-19 shooting, adding 14 rebounds and five assists. He did his major damage in the first and fourth quarters, scoring 20 points in the two quarters combined.

    More Stats: Paul tied a season-high with 15 assists and added 15 points, five rebounds and two steals.

    DeAndre Jordan, who was shooting free-throws at a 52.6 percent clip, made seven of his eight tries from the line en route to 13 points

    Caron Butler had 14 points, seven in the third quarter during the stretch where the Clippers took the lead for good.

    Suns guard Steve Nash nearly set the regular-season record for most assists without a point. He had 15 assists while going scoreless before hitting a technical free-throw in the fourth quarter, his only point of the game. Three players have had 14 assists and 0 points. Nate McMillan had 16 assists while going scoreless in a 1987 playoff game.

    Hot: Marcin Gortat, who sliced through the Clippers defense for 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Gortat had 21 through the first three quarters before sitting most of the fourth.

    Not: Nick Young, who struggled to hit his jumper, shooting 3-of-11 from the field. Over seven games with the Clippers, Young is shooting 36 percent from the field.

    Quotables:

    On the standings and playoff race:

    Paul: “(This win is) very important. Right now we control our own destiny. As long as we continue to win games we don’t have to keep looking over our shoulder and seeing what other teams are doing. This home stretch is very important and we have to keep it up. ”

    Vinny Del Negro: “It’s that time of the year. It’s time. You have to win games. The race is so tight.”

    On the second half:

    Young: “We picked it up defensively and made stops and we made plays down on the other end. We did it today, we played hard and ran them off the three point line and got the win.”

    Suns guard Jared Dudley: “Obviously the back-to-back and playing a team that is desperate out there, there are a lot of different reasons. We didn’t have the energy level to go out and compete like we should have to win a game. You have to give them all the credit. Chris Paul and Blake [Griffin] had big games.”


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