Newsroom Notes: Suns Hold On to Put Clippers Away
Posted: Nov. 26, 2010
Usually the day after Thanksgiving is a daunting one for an athlete. After spending the previous afternoon and evening eating pounds of poultry and watching football, anyone would be a little sluggish when faced with the prospect of physical activity.
But the Suns appeared to have monitored their turkey intake, using a hot start to roll to a 116-108 home victory over the Clippers.
Phoenix jumped out of the gate with its best quarter of the season, snatching a 42-21 lead before concluding the first period. In that quarter, Suns guard Jason Richardson exploded for 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field to jolt the team's offense.
Richardson explained his quick start.
“I didn’t have a big dinner (yesterday),” Richardson said. “I’m on a really strict diet so there's no overeating for me.”
While committing zero turnovers, the Suns forced the Clippers to cough up the ball seven times in the first quarter. In addition, the Suns shot a red-hot 58 percent, while holding the Clippers to 42-percent shooting in the first period.
Unfortunately for the Suns, the tryptophan might have just taken a while to set in. Starting the second half slowly, the Phoenix allowed the Clippers to close within four points after leading by as many as 25.
“But we never got to the point that we were nervous or weren’t confident that we wouldn’t pull out the win," Richardson said.
The Suns rallied behind nine points from Channing Frye, eight points from Steve Nash and seven from Richardson in the quarter to take a 17-point lead heading into the fourth.
Taking their foot off the gas pedal again, the Suns allowed the Clips to pull within five before finally closing the door on them late in the final period. A turnaround jumper by Frye with 33.8 seconds remaining put the Suns up eight and all but sealed the victory for Phoenix.
“I think we got to do a better job just not taking our foot off the gas and just keep on going,” Warrick said. “Teams are too good in this league and we got to play the way we played to get that lead. It’s just natural; you get a big lead and you tend to slow it down a little bit and not be as aggressive, but that’s our style, we’re an aggressive team and that hurts us.”
Richardson finished with a team-high 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the floor and 5-of-8 shooting from behind the arc. He also grabbed six rebounds against the Clippers, who have lost six-straight on the road in Phoenix.
Warrick continues to add a valuable scoring punch off of the bench, racking up 25 points and six boards on Friday. It was his first consecutive 20-point effort since March 2008 and just the fifth time he’s accomplished that feat in his career.
Nash collected 16 points and 10 assists, while Frye added 16 (4-of-6 shooting from three-point land) and Grant Hill chipped in with 12 points.
Gentry improved to 7-0 against the Clippers since taking over as head coach of the Suns, while Phoenix captured its ninth straight overall against the Clips.
The Suns’ next contest is on the road in Denver on Sunday.
The Suns' Cousin Vinny
Coming into Friday’s contest, former Suns assistant GM and current Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro was 3-1 against the Suns since leaving the franchise to become an NBA head coach.
While Del Negro has studied the Suns’ system inside-out, Clippers assistant coach Marc Iavoroni helped design it. Iavoroni was an assistant with the Suns under Mike D’Antoni, the era in which the Suns first coined the “7 Seconds or Less” offense.
When asked if Del Negro “stole the Suns’ playbook” he replied, “We were fortunate with the schedule and just caught them on the right night. You play hard and try to get your team to understand what the game plan is and go out and execute it. We know what the Suns do, they know what we do, and we just try to be very good with our execution.”
Whether they forgot the playbook in L.A., or they’re still adjusting to coaching a young team (the more likely scenario), Del Negro's and Iavoroni's inside info was unable to affect the outcome Friday.
Suns star point guard Steve Nash needs just one more three-pointer to become only the 13th player in NBA history to register 1,500 three-pointers in his career. It will place him amongst pretty exclusive company.
Check out the players that are ahead of him on the all-time list below:
1. Reggie Miller (2,560 made)
2. Ray Allen (2,476)
3. Dale Ellis (1,719)
4. Peja Stojakovic (1,714)
5. Jason Kidd (1,685)
6. Rashard Lewis (1,611)
7. Chauncey Billups (1,607)
8. Glen Rice (1,559)
9. Jason Terry (1,547)
10. Eddie Jones (1,546)
11. Tim Hardaway (1,542)
12. Nick Van Exel (1,528)
13. Steve Nash (1,499)
If Nash continues his current pace of knocking down treys over the next two years, he will end up in the Top 5 by the end of his current contract.
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