Newsroom Notes: Suns Keep Griffin Winless in Phoenix
Posted: April 19, 2012
On one hand, the Suns came into Thursday’s game against the Clippers fighting for their playoff lives and winners of nine straight over "Lob City" at home. On the other hand, the Clippers came into US Airways Center having won five straight and 13 of their last 15.
Something had to give, and that something was the Clippers play down the stretch, as the Suns escaped with a 93-90 home victory.
“It wasn’t our type of game really and it wasn’t a clean game by either team but we found a way to hang around when we could have gone south a lot of moments tonight,” Suns point guard Steve Nash said. “But we hung in there and found a way to just scrap and claw out a big win.”
Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin has still yet to win in Phoenix in his career, while the Clippers have remained winless in the Valley of the Sun since 2007. Jared Dudley led the Suns' attack with 18 points, while Marcin Gortat posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
However, down the stretch, the Suns were keyed by a seldom-used dual-point guard attack.
Nash tended to his usual playmaking duties, while Sebastian Telfair pestered Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Nash totaled six of his 13 points down the stretch (four of which came in the final 1:15), while Telfair added 13 points and three assists off the bench.
His defense on Paul created difficulties for the Clippers, who were forced into taking rushed and challenged shots down the stretch.
“He’s a pest out there,” Dudley said referring to Telfair. “He’s like the black Sasha Vujacic. He’s the type that you hate because he gets under your skin and we need that. ”
With the Rockets losing, the Suns moved back into the playoffs, tying the Jazz for the eighth-best record in the West. However, due to the tiebreaker they hold over Utah, the Suns would be the team that would face the top-seeded Spurs if the playoffs started today.
The Suns host the Nuggets at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Griffin vs. Nash
Suns Communication Manager and resident numbers guru Vince Kozar found an interesting stat worth noting. According to NBA Stats, Clippers forward Blake Griffin has made 519 field goals this season, with 421 of them coming from within nine feet of the basket.
On the season, Griffin is seventh in the league in field goal percentage (.542), with 71 percent of his shots coming on shots from five feet or less away from the hoop. Meanwhile, Nash is ranked eighth in the league (.534) in field goal percentage, despite shooting 132 shots from behind the arc.
Hill Still On the Mend
The Suns decided to rest Suns small forward Grant Hill once again Thursday. Despite playing two games since returning from surgery on his right knee, Hill has experienced soreness and discomfort during recovery.
“You can’t just stick him out there in this situation,” Gentry said. “You’d like to because he can guard Chris Paul better than anybody, but he can’t plant or maneuver like he normally can.”
With a full day off Friday, Gentry would consider allowing Hill to suit up against Denver on Saturday.
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