Suns-Clippers Game Preview: March 28
Posted: March 28, 2012
It's been almost two weeks since the Los Angeles Clippers lost a game at home.
Their most recent defeat at Staples Center came against the Phoenix Suns.
The Clippers look for a fifth straight home victory while trying to snap a four-game losing streak against the Suns on Wednesday night.
After being swept on a trip to Indiana, Oklahoma City and New Orleans last week, Los Angeles (28-21) returned home to beat Memphis and the Hornets by a combined 28 points. The Clippers shot 50.0 percent in each game while holding both opponents to 85 points.
"I think the last couple of games we locked in," forward Kenyon Martin told the Clippers' official website after Monday's 97-85 win over the Hornets. "We've done a better job of taking a teams' tendencies away and it's worked for us."
The club's back-to-back victories also might take some of the pressure off coach Vinny Del Negro, who was reported to be in trouble with the front office following the recent winless trip.
Los Angeles is giving up 86.0 points per game and allowing its opponents to shoot 44.4 percent from the field during a four-game home winning streak dating to a 91-87 loss to Phoenix on March 15. The Suns (25-25) made 41.0 percent of their shots in that contest, but outscored the Clippers 27-12 in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-0 against them this season.
The Clippers have dropped 13 of 14 in the series, with that lone victory 108-103 at home Dec. 26, 2010.
Chris Paul has been limited to 26 points on 11-of-27 shooting (40.7) in two games versus Phoenix in 2011-12, but he scored 25 against his former Hornets team Monday.
"We're playing for a lot right now," Paul said. "We had a lot of fun, just because we won. I could care less who the opponent was."
While Los Angeles is firmly entrenched in playoff position in the Western Conference, Phoenix remains on the outside looking in after losing 107-100 at home to San Antonio on Tuesday. Though the Suns have won 13 of 19, they are 10th in the West, two games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Starting in place of injured veteran Grant Hill, Shannon Brown scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Marcin Gortat added 21 with 14 rebounds Tuesday. The Suns were held to 17 fourth-quarter points while losing for the third time in 13 home games.
Brown's previous season high was 21 against the Clippers earlier this month.
"I didn't know I was going to start until we were doing our pregame (meeting) and they said Grant wasn't going to go," said Brown, who matched his career high with five 3-pointers. "I just wanted to come out, play hard, play within the flow of what's going on and I wish we could have come out with a win."
Gortat was held to eight points and six rebounds against the Clippers two weeks ago, but he's averaged 22.0 and 10.0 boards in the last three games overall.
It's uncertain if Hill will miss a second straight game with knee inflammation.
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