Suns-Clippers Preview: 11/26/2010
Posted: Nov. 26, 2010
The Phoenix Suns are accustomed to getting off to fast starts, but they've struggled to get things going this November. Consistency hasn't been an issue against their next opponent.
Phoenix looks to win its ninth straight over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night when it tries to bounce back from an especially frustrating loss.
The slumping Suns (7-8) have dropped four of five to fall under .500. They never fell below the break-even mark last season, partly because of its 14-3 record in November.
This is the worst 15-game start for the Suns since 2003-04.
After a 1-3 road trip in which it allowed opponents to average 116.8 points, Phoenix gave up a 23-point, second-quarter lead before losing 123-115 in double-overtime to Chicago on Wednesday.
The Suns scored 62 points in the first half, but Chicago rallied and forced a second overtime on Derrick Rose's basket with 0.1 seconds remaining. They were outscored 12-4 in the second extra period.
"I thought we played well in the first quarter but we're not doing the little things that help to extend leads," said coach Alvin Gentry, whose team dropped to 3-3 at home. "You've got to play the whole 48 minutes, especially against teams that are going to compete."
Steve Nash had 14 points and 16 assists in a team-high 49 minutes while Grant Hill added 27 points in 47 minutes.
Gentry was upset by the amount of minutes the veterans were forced to play due to poor support from the reserves. Hakim Warrick had 23 points off the bench, but Jared Dudley and Josh Childress totaled four in a combined 28 minutes.
"We got to have Josh and we got to have Jared play better and more consistent so we don't have those guys playing extended minutes," Gentry said. "It's not good when I have to put Steve back in the game with nine minutes to go."
A matchup against the Clippers may be just what the Suns need to bounce back. Phoenix has swept all four meetings each of the last two seasons, outscoring Los Angeles by an average of 23.0 points in four home wins.
The Clippers have dropped six straight in Phoenix.
Los Angeles (3-13) is looking to win its third in a row. The Clippers, who snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 99-95 victory over New Orleans on Monday, routed Sacramento 100-82 on Thursday night.
Eric Gordon scored 28 points and had six assists, and Blake Griffin added 25 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Griffin is averaging 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds. He has nine double-doubles.
"He's one of the bright young talents to come into this league and I think he's going to have a great career," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "He's a scary athlete and he's quite an imposing physical presence."
Griffin and Gordon, who is averaging 26.7 points in the last seven games, could find it tough to keep up that pace given the difficulty of their team's upcoming schedule. After Phoenix, Los Angeles hosts division leaders Utah and San Antonio before visiting Denver and Portland.
The Clippers are 0-7 on the road, getting outscored by an average of 12.4 points, and have dropped 11 straight away from home dating back to last season.
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