FINAL | December 23, 2012 | US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

24

19

17

17

77

28

30

33

12

103

 

By Eric Patten

PHOENIX – Of all the Clippers streaks on-going, perhaps the one that stands out most Sunday is one that ended.

The Clippers’ 103-77 victory over the Phoenix Suns at U.S. Airways Center extended their franchise-record to 13 in a row. It also marked the end of a 10-game losing streak in the Valley of the Sun. 

The Clippers (21-6) last won in Phoenix on April 17, 2007, a streak that was all but finished midway through the third quarter.

The Clippers outscored the Suns 33-16 in the period, holding the Suns (11-17) to 30.8% on just 4-for-13 shooting and Blake Griffin closing it out by knocking down a 3-pointer from the left corner off a feed from Chris Paul.

Griffin and Paul would not return to the game, which had ballooned to a 31-point advantage for the Clippers.

“We’re just taking care of business right now,” Griffin said. “To be honest, we’re not really concerned with ‘you haven’t won here since then’ or ‘you haven’t won this many games in a row.’ We hear it all, but we’re about just getting wins and if they come within a streak or when we haven’t won somewhere that’s fine.”

Difference Maker: Paul and Griffin. The superstar duo ensured there would be no let down after setting the franchise record for consecutive wins two nights earlier. They scored 18 of the first 22 points for the Clippers and wholly dominated the game. Paul had 17 points, 13 assists and five steals, becoming the first player since John Stockton 21 years ago to have such prolific numbers in all three categories in consecutive games.

All Griffin did was scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, grab 11 rebounds and match his career-high with four steals.

“Blake and Chris and Jamal [Crawford], guys who have been catalysts for us all year, all played well,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “They were active. They do what they do. They have the ability to take games over and that’s a good luxury to have.”

Crawford, who had 22 points, said when Griffin and Paul open the game with the kind of performances they had Sunday it sets the tone for everyone else. “Once those two lead like that, everyone else falls in line and we try to support them.”

Moment of Truth: The final 5:36 of the second quarter. While the third quarter was perhaps the Clippers’ most dominant stretch of basketball, the game changed in the second. They closed the first half on a 15-3 run after Shannon Brown nailed a pull-up jumper with 5:36 to go.

“I felt like the second half of the second quarter we got into our game as far as getting stops and getting out in transition,” said Crawford, who scored 12 points in the quarter including a 3-pointer as part of the run. “That’s when we’re at our best.”

The Clippers had three of their 13 steals to close the quarter and scored eight points inside 4 feet, including two dunks by Griffin.

Stat Line of the Night: Paul’s 13th double-double included a perfect 5-for-5 start, two 3-pointers and a bevy of assists. He finished with 17 points, 13 assists, five steals, and just two turnovers in 29:04.

More Stats: 

Griffin. He went 8-for-12 from the field, made his only 3-pointer, and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Griffin finished with a game-high 23 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists and a blocked shot.

Crawford. After shooting just 2-for-12 against the Kings, Crawford responded with 22 points on 8-for-12 (3-for-6 from 3-point range), giving him a league-high 11 20-point games off the bench this year. He also handed out three assists.

Matt Barnes. The Clippers are undefeated when their wiry small forward goes for 10 or more off the bench and he did it again on Sunday, scoring 15 points. It is the seventh consecutive game Barnes has scored in double digits as a reserve.

Jared Dudley. One of keys to Phoenix’s four-game home winning streak had been Dudley, who’s averaged a shade less than 20 points per game in the last week. He finished with a team-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds and two steals.

Hot: The Clippers from 3-point range. They made 11 of their 21 shots from behind the arc, including three apiece from Crawford and Barnes.

“Matt Barnes hit a lot of timely threes,” Paul said. “That’s what me and Chauncey [Billups] were talking about on the bench. Every time they’d maybe make a 4-0 or 6-0 run, Matt would hit one just to keep us steady.”

Not: The Suns in the second half. Phoenix scored 30 of their first 40 points in the paint. But after a relatively solid start, they looked like a team coming off a back-to-back the night before. They shot just 24.3% in the second half, converting just nine of their 37 field goal attempts.

“We were solid,” Del Negro said of the Clippers’ defensive effort.  “We gave them a couple of easy ones early. I didn’t like our first quarter. We came on some traps on the baseline too quick, gave them some easy points in the paint. But then we started locking in better.”

Quotables:

On the game:

Eric Bledsoe: “I think we came out and played the game we know how to play and everything took care of itself.”

Dudley: “Tonight they took it to us, no excuses. They were just the better team. Chris Paul was, defensively, a one man wrecking crew: he took us out of our whole offense that we wanted to get done. Offensively, we couldn’t stop them. They hit a lot of threes. We tried to take away their down-low, Blake was doing a good job of that. Through our turnovers and bad offense that led to them getting easy points; that’s a team you really can’t afford that to.”

On game’s turning point:

Griffin: “We came out a little bit sloppy and defensively gave up too many easy ones. Somewhere in the second quarter we kind of buckled down a little bit.”

On bouncing back from 2-for-12 shooting night on Friday:

Crawford: “I didn’t do anything different. That’s the thing that’s humbling and weird about the NBA, you can do the exact same thing and shots go and sometimes they don’t. Tonight, my teammates did a great job setting me up.”

Notes: The Clippers set a franchise record for consecutive road wins with their sixth in a row… Suns forward Michael Beasley (illness) did not play… There were six technical fouls in the game, including two quick ones against Suns head coach Alvin Gentry who was ejected with 2:33 left in the third… The Clippers lead the league with 14 victories by 10 or more points… Phoenix shot 36.3% from the floor. It is the eighth Clippers opponent in a row to shoot 43% or worse… The Clippers will practice Tuesday in preparation for their Christmas Day game against the Denver Nuggets. They will likely not shoot-around Wednesday.

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