Notebook: Clippers 126, Suns 101



Posted Apr 4, 2013 2:06 AM

Dan Arritt, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: If the Clippers are hoping to do any damage in the playoffs this season, they'll need more games like Wednesday's from center DeAndre Jordan. He put the Clippers on his broad shoulders against the visiting Suns, producing a team-high 20 points and 12 rebounds in the 126-101 victory. The win ended a three-game losing streak and gave the Clippers a franchise-record 50 wins on the season.

THE STAT: The victory also dropped L.A.'s magic number to 1 in their pursuit of their first division championship in franchise history. They can clinch the Pacific with a win Sunday afternoon against the visiting Lakers, or a loss by the Warriors on Friday night against the visiting Suns.

QUOTABLE: "To get to No. 50 in front of our fans, the first time it has been done, is a great feeling for the organization and the team, but we've got much bigger things [to do] than win 50."

-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

TURNING POINT: The Clippers scored the game's first 15 points, only to give up the next 10. Phoenix hung around until the Clippers strung together a 15-2 run to go up 77-60 with 5:54 left in the third quarter and the Suns were finally toasted.

HOT: The Clippers had six players score in double figures while shooting 55.9 percent from the floor, and that didn't include the team's leading scorer, forward Blake Griffin, who finished with nine points. Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points off the bench, starters bCaron Butler, Chris Paul and Willie Green scored 15 points apiece and Jamal Crawford added 13 points. Wesley Johnson scored 20 for the Suns, the third time in the last five games he has surpassed the 20-point plateau. Jermaine O'Neal added 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench, shooting 7-for-10 along the way.

QUOTABLE II: "We had some good performances from a lot of guys. ... Just a solid, good effort, a good team win for us."

-- Del Negro

NOT: Phoenix point guard Goran Dragic is one of four NBA players averaging better than 14 points, seven assists and 1.5 steals this season, but he didn't reach any of those numbers against the Clippers. He scored three points on 3-for-11 shooting, distributed four assists and had no steals. He did turn the ball over five times for the second consecutive game.

GOOD MOVE: In the four games leading up to the meeting with Phoenix, the Clippers had been outscored 113-75 in the third quarter. They made sure they didn't have a repeat of that lapse, winning the third frame by a 38-20 margin and shooting 70.8 percent in the process. It also helped their psyche to get off to a good start in the first quarter. Jumping out to a 15-0 lead certainly provided some early comfort.

QUOTABLE III: "The third quarter we kind of jumped on them, took control of the game."

-- Del Negro

BAD MOVE: The Clippers were leading 104-79 with just under nine minutes left in the game and the only thing to settle was the final score. But that's when Clippers back-up center Ryan Hollins got tangled up with Dragic under the L.A. basket and neither displayed any effort to separate. They spilled over to the Phoenix bench, where Michael Beasley got into the act, shoving Hollins aside to start an even bigger scrum. Both Hollins and Beasley received flagrant 2 fouls and were ejected. Griffin also received his 14th technical foul of the season after getting involved with Dragic in the first quarter. Two more during the regular season and he'll be suspended for a game.

NOTABLE: Clippers starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups missed his third straight game with a groin injury. He has played in just 20 games this season because of injuries and rehabilitation from surgery on a torn Achilles' in February 2011.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Sunday vs. L.A. Lakers, Wednesday vs. Minnesota, April 12 @ New Orleans. For the Suns, Friday vs. Golden State, Sunday vs. New Orleans, Tuesday @ Houston.