The LA Clippers went into Phoenix on Wednesday night well rested (only one game in previous 7 days) but coming off the most embarrassing effort of the decade. We’ve seen the Clippers manage to beat the defending champs and lose to the worst team in the league, so anything could have happened at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
What did happen was that the Clippers scored their most points in Phoenix since 1976, when the franchise was in Buffalo. Sure, the Clippers gave up 41 points to former PG Eric Bledsoe and 114 total, but the Clippers ended their first of these two 5-game road trips on a relatively good note overall.
Top Performer: Blake Griffin came back last week, but he really came back in Phoenix:
Blake doing his best CP3 impression! pic.twitter.com/7xJLEDswpo
— NBA (@NBA) February 2, 2017
That’s just filthy. And Griffin’s efficiency was special: 29 points on 14 shots to go with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Griffin made a season-high 71.4 percent of his shots and had only 1 turnover in 34:04. The Clippers will take that version of Griffin from here on out.
X-Factor: The Clippers shot poorly from three, making only 5-of-19 attempts (26.3 percent). That’s the 3rd-fewest made threes of the season by the Clippers – but the fewest in a game they won! The Clippers made a season-high 39 FGs inside the arc, and they shot 52.4 percent from the field overall. They have Griffin to thank for that level of efficiency, because he was the only player out of five that attempted at least 10 shots to shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
Major Moment: The Clippers were up 12 in the 3rd quarter when C DeAndre Jordan was ejected for catching Phoenix rookie PF Marquese Chriss up high:
The Suns would get that lead, which was as great as 14 points, down to a 94-93 Clippers lead with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. But the Clippers closed the game by making 16 of their last 17 FTs and having zero turnovers in those last 10 minutes. The Suns never led in this game, and the Clippers wound up winning by double digits as they closed the game by outscoring Phoenix 30-21 in the last 10 minutes.
Key Lineups: The Clippers went back to Raymond Felton and Austin Rivers starting together with J.J. Redick and Jordan, with Blake Griffin instead of Luc Mbah a Moute. LA’s starting lineup only got 8 minutes together, but they outscored Phoenix 21-12 while compiling a net rating of 61.5. It’s safe to expect that unit to start again vs the Warriors on Thursday.
Phoenix’s worst lineup was their starting five, unfortunately. The unit of Bledsoe, SG Devin Booker, SF T.J. Warren, Chriss, and C Tyson Chandler was outscored 44-25 in 19 minutes, compiling a net rating of -61.3. The Suns starters shot 25.8 percent from the field while on the floor together, while allowing 58.6 percent from the field.
The Definition: The Clippers won both front ends of their back-to-backs during this 5-game road trip. Their next game will feel like a road game against the Warriors, and then they go back out on the road. But the real question: will this roster look the same by the end of the month???
Clippers finally back in action tonight in Phoenix, but let's talk about a more pressing issue: What would you give up for Carmelo Anthony?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) February 1, 2017