Clippers End Sunsí Winning Streak at Nine
L.A. Clippers 101, Phoenix 91
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 (Ticker) -- Solid play by Elton Brand and Cuttino Mobley moved the Los Angeles Clippers to the top of their division.
Brand had 27 points and 13 rebounds and Mobley scored 25 points as the Clippers took over sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a 101-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
"Our record at home is terrific," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. said. "We will take nine out of every 10 at home. Our guys are playing hard and doing a great job defensively. They are an extremely talented team. This definitely takes us up a notch."
The Clippers snapped a 59-59 tie with a 22-12 run in the third quarter. Brand scored 13 points, including the final six, and Mobley added seven for an 81-71 lead with 1:37 left in the period.
"Tonight was a pretty big test because they are a very good team that shoots the ball very well and spreads you out," Brand said. "We remained confident throughout the game. Their halftime lead was a result of our mistakes. In the second half, we adjusted and tightened up our defense."
Leandro Barbosa hit a 15-footer to cut the deficit to 83-78 early in the fourth quarter. However, Los Angeles held Phoenix scoreless for nearly eight minutes.
Sam Cassell hit a pair of jumpers and Chris Kaman scored four points in an 8-0 burst, widening the lead to 91-78 with 3:56 to play.
Shawn Marion hit a 3-pointer, Steve Nash scored four points and Eddie House made a jumper and foul shot in a 10-2 run that cut the Suns' deficit to 93-88 with 1:04 remaining. Cassell sealed the win with a jumper and four free throws in the final minute.
"We had to come in strong," Mobley said. "We had to play our game. It's going to be tough on the road. You can't come in here thinking you are going to win. You have to play hard. It's not the old Clippers."
Cassell scored 24 points and Kaman added 12 for the Clippers, who limited the Suns (13-6) to 34 points in the second half. Phoenix averaged 104 points during its winning streak.
"We slowed it down," Cassell said. "We ran with them a bit but then started throwing people inside."
Marion scored 20 points and Nash added 16 and 11 assists for Phoenix, which lost Barbosa to a knee injury in the fourth quarter and James Jones to a right ankle sprain in the third.
"We just didn't play our game," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "When you play a good team like the Clippers, you need to be on your game and we just didn't play a good game."
"It's a very important game but it's early in the season," said Phoenix center Kurt Thomas, who had 13 points and 17 rebounds. "We are disappointed our winning streak was broken but we have a long way to go. It's a long season. We're still climbing up the hill."