Gameday Report: Clippers look to bounce back against Suns
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The Clippers (30-27) will take on the Phoenix Suns (18-41) on Friday on the second night of a back-to-back. LA has five back-to-backs remaining this season.
Here’s what to look out for in Friday’s matchup with the Suns:
Every win counts –
The Clippers fell to the Warriors on Thursday night, 134-127, and now sit one game behind New Orleans for eighth in the Western Conference standings and 1.5 games behind Denver and Portland for sixth and seventh, respectively.
LA will take on a Suns team that is last in the West and tied for the worst record in the NBA. In addition, Phoenix has lost seven straight and 12 of its last 13.
Friday is a must-win game for the Clippers, as the schedule doesn’t get much easier moving forward. LA will travel to take on Denver on Tuesday before returning home to host Houston on Wednesday, in the team’s second back-to-back in seven days.
Good news for the Clippers is that they have defeated the Suns twice this season by an average of 27.5 points per game. LA needs to keep pace with the teams right above it, so a win in Phoenix on Friday is much-needed.
Can the Clippers really hang with Golden State?
The Warriors are the defending NBA champions, having dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers in last June’s NBA Finals. Golden State also boasts four All-Stars and arguably the two best shooters in the league.
But none of those facts have seemed to bother the Clippers in the teams’ last two matchups.
On Jan. 10 at ORACLE Arena, Clippers guard Lou Williams dropped 50 points en route to a 125-106 win for LA. It ended the Clippers’ 12-game losing streak against the Warriors and also ended LA’s 11-game road losing streak against Golden State.
On Thursday, Golden State eked out a 134-127 win over LA. However, despite the Warriors winning the season series 3-1, the Clippers have hope as they angle towards a potential first round playoff matchup with the defending champions.
Finishing with a team season-high 32 assists, the offense put up 124 points, and it was a team-oriented attack that closed the deficit.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 23, 2018
The Clippers have outscored the Warriors in the teams’ last two matchups, 252-240, with both contests taking place at ORACLE Arena. Seven Clippers players scored in double-figures on Thursday, as opposed to five for Golden State. The Clippers also tallied a season-high 32 assists on Thursday.
After trailing by as many as 11 early in the fourth quarter, LA cut the Warriors lead to as little as two with 9:07 left in the game and as little as three with 3:08 left in the game.
In the end, Warriors guard Stephen Curry proved too much for the Clippers to overcome, scoring 44 points behind 8-for-11 shooting from three. But, there were some positive signs for the Clippers.
The Warriors connected on 14 threes over the course of the game, only three more than the Clippers’ 11 threes. The Warriors also shot a scorching 62.7 percent from the field, but LA shot 50.6 percent from the field, and put up 12 more shots total than the Warriors.
A seven-game series against the Warriors would prove daunting for any NBA team, but the Clippers have proven in their most recent matchups with Golden State that they can push the Warriors like few teams can.
Friday’s game in Phoenix will tip-off at 6 p.m. PST.