The Phoenix Suns have had the Clippers’ attention ever since Dec. 30, when they beat the Clippers by 19 points at Staples Center. Now you can add the Suns as yet another “rival” after the season series took a more physical turn during the Clippers’ 112-105 home victory Monday night. Blake Griffin scored 37 points, then was involved in a scuffle with Phoenix forward P.J. Tucker in the final period. Though Tucker was ejected, the Suns cut a deficit that had once been 25 points to four before the Clippers held on for their eighth consecutive victory. “It was a hard game to focus through, a lot of stuff, a lot of fouls,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “The game was really called tight. It was good calls, just a tightly called game. “You have to play through that, you’ve got to adjust to that. I thought both teams kind of got off rhythm a little bit.” The Clippers held a 105-90 lead when Tucker and Griffin got tangled under the basket. They fell to the floor with Griffin on top, and Tucker appeared to shove his forearm into Griffin’s face. Tucker was give a foul, a technical foul and was ejected. “Blake gets hit as much as anybody in the league,” Rivers said. “I think we’ve all seen it. I think he’s doing the right thing, I really do. He puts his arms up because if he reacts like some people say he should, then he gets thrown out, gets suspended and it hurts the team. I know it’s very difficult for him. But he’s doing the right thing for the team.” However, Griffin, who was scoreless in the fourth period, picked up his fifth and sixth fouls on charging calls. When he left, the Clippers held a 10-point lead and the Suns got as close as 109-105 with 32.5 seconds left. Chris Paul had 17 points and 11 assists for the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 17 rebounds. Goran Dragic had 23 points to lead the Suns, who had seven players in double figures. Griffin made 14 of 16 shots (one of his misses came while trying to dunk off a lob pass) and the Clippers held a 90-76 lead entering the final period. Griffin took no shots in the fourth quarter, but Paul scored 11 of his points in the final period. The Suns were playing without guard Eric Bledsoe, the former Clipper guard who has been one of the main difference makers for the Suns but is out after undergoing knee surgery. The Clippers were without J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Jared Dudley, who are dealing with assorted injuries of their own.
Blake Griffin’s 37 points lead Clippers past Phoenix
L.A. Daily News | Mar 11