The Clippers remain unbeaten in the 2015-2016 season after a tough win over the gritty Phoenix Suns. The Clippers were up most of the game and looked like they could pull away early in the 3rd quarter, but the Suns came back and never really left. Although the final result wasn't in too much doubt, the Clippers' play was shaky once again. A win is a win, however, and in the record books LAC is still perfect. The Flow of the Game: The first quarter started off with a flurry of activity. Both teams raced up and down the court, missing shots at a rate that suggested destroying the rim was a stronger priority than winning the game. Lance Stephenson looked a bit hyper but in a good way, flying around on defense and making several beautiful passes off the dribble. Chris Paul also looked energetic early, darting in and out of picks to get free for a couple shots and whipping passes all over the court. Sadly, most of those looks by both Lance and Chris went to JJ Redick, who was absolutely ice cold tonight and had missed three open threes by the first timeout. The Suns were no better off, however, and the score remained tight. Amidst all the bricks, there were exciting things taking place. Lance slammed home a CP3 miss, and shortly thereafter Blake threw down a lob that Paul sent him from halfcourt. Despite these thunderous jams, the basket seemed to have a lid on it for any shot outside the painted area. Things only got worse when the 2nd units gradually subbed in, as the slow stream of made baskets became an almost non-existent trickle. The Suns were able to claw their way into a one point lead at the end of the 1st period, but neither team looked like they were going to get anywhere near 100 points. The start of the 2nd quarter was even more grim, as an Austin Rivers-Jamal Crawford-Wes Johnson-Paul Pierce-Josh Smith lineup didn't make a field goal for several minutes. Meanwhile, Ronnie Price of all people drained a couple threes and was a steady hand at point guard for the Suns. The Clippers were not getting clean looks, and the offense just didn't seem to be creating anything. All of a sudden, DeAndre Jordan checked into the game for Josh Smith, and the Clippers were forcing turnovers and getting out on the break. Rivers and Wes each made a couple nice baskets and pushed the Clippers into a small lead. Then the starters checked back in, and the brief stretch of exciting play was over. The Suns couldn't catch up though, largely due to the play of Markieff Morris, who was missing wide open shots on one end and getting taken off the dribble by Blake on the other. Bledsoe sitting out most of the quarter with three fouls didn't help matters, and the Clippers led by 9 at halftime. The Clippers forced a shot clock violation on the Suns to start off the 3rd quarter, but shots soon started to fall for both teams. Redick finally made a three on a highly contested off the dribble attempt, and Blake hit an incredible off balance jumper to beat the shot clock. Ominously, Markieff Morris hit an open 3, and his confidence noticeably swelled. Soon he was posting up Blake, taking defenders off the dribble, and nailing jumpers. Bledsoe began to get more penetration and this cleared the way for Tyson Chandler to get lobs and tip ins. The Suns had a brief lead before Josh Smith hit two 3 pointers and made a fantastic pass off a spin to get Wes Johnson an easy layup. The Clippers led 75-72 at the end of the third. The 4th quarter went much the same as the previous three quarters, with each team going on short stretches of inspired play before lapsing into lazy defense and missed jumpers. Austin had a couple nice drives to the rack, but once again Ronnie Price stepped up by hitting a three and then finding a cutting TJ Warren under the hoop. This was a symptom of the bigger issue: Doc played Jamal Crawford the entire 4th quarter over Lance Stephenson, who had been playing well. Crawford had an off night shooting the ball and was getting roasted on defense, but Doc stuck with him anyway. Bledsoe made a nice move in the post on Griffin, yet CP3 came right back with the counter. The Clippers were able to maintain their three-four point lead, and with the help of a couple missed Suns free throws and their own clutch makes, finally put the game away in the closing minute.
Clippers defeat Suns 102-96, move to 4-0
Clips Nation | Nov 3