Postgame Central: Suns vs. Clippers - March 2, 2012
Marcin Gortat notched his 21st double-double of the season in Friday night's win over the Clippers.
Suns Outlast Clippers, Win 2nd Straight
Jared Dudley scored 22 points and made two crucial free throws in the final minute as the Phoenix Suns rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 81-78 on Friday night.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Grant Hill added 14 points for the Suns, who won for the fourth time in five games despite shooting 35 percent from the floor.
Channing Frye was emblematic of both the Suns' offensive struggles and defensive success, shooting 2 of 18 from the floor but adding a key free throw and pulled down 14 rebounds.
Blake Griffin scored 17 points, Chris Paul had 16 and Kenyon Martin added 14 off the bench for the Clippers, who have lost two of three.
The Suns, who trailed by 11 points midway through the second quarter, opened a 63-52 lead on Markief Morris' 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left in the third.
The Clippers slowly rallied, tying the game at 70 on Mo Williams' 3-pointer from the left corner with 4 minutes to play.
Gortat blocked Caron Butler and Frye made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Suns a 77-72 lead with 29.5 seconds left. Paul pulled the Clippers within 77-75 with a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the arc off the inbounds pass with 26.5 to go.
After a pair of Phoenix timeouts, Frye broke free to Hill's inbound pass before the Suns worked the ball to Dudley, who was fouled. Dudley's two free throws put the Suns ahead 79-75.
Paul attempted a 3-pointer but his shot was blocked by Hill, who then scored on a layup to secure the Suns' 13th win in their past 14 games against the Clippers.
Phoenix scored just 15 second-quarter points yet trailed only 35-32 at the half. Hill gave the Suns their first lead since the early minutes, 38-37, on 14-foot jumper 9:56 into the third quarter.
The Suns have won nine straight at home against the Clippers, dating to April 17, 2007.
NOTES: Frye missed his first 10 shots, all in the first half, before scoring on a dunk 23 seconds into the second half. His other field goal was a 3-pointer, after which he stuck out his tongue and pumped his fist as he ran up the court. . Los Angeles shot 35.7 percent from the floor in the first half, the Suns 29.5 percent. Missed shots were so prevalent that after Hill missed a second-quarter free throw, Clippers C DeAndre Jordan, Griffin and Frye all handled and squeezed the ball in turn, as if making sure it wasn't a foreign object. . Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry is 10-1 against the Clippers, whom he coached from 2000 to 2003. . The Suns' 32 first-half points were a season low. . Terrell Owens and Evander Holyfield each were in attendance ahead of a celebrity basketball game Saturday.
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