Clippers win fourth straight, defeat Phoenix Suns at home

first_imgThe Clippers extended their undefeated streak to four games Monday night with a 102-96 win over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.It is only the fourth time in franchise history that the Clippers have started the season with four wins, the last time being in 2007-08.The Clippers gave up 33 points in the third quarter and relinquished a 14-point lead, but head coach Doc Rivers praised L.A. reserves in holding on for the victory.“Our bench won the game for us tonight,” Rivers said. After missing four straight shots to open the second quarter, the Clippers’ second unit led the way on a 15-0 run. It sank five straight shots during the run, including a DeAndre Jordan reverse dunk on an alley-oop from Austin Rivers.The Clippers finished the half on a 24-7 run and held the Suns to just 16 points in the second quarter. All 10 Clippers who played in the first half scored at least one point, with Griffin leading the way with 10. A three-point play by Lance Stephenson gave the Clippers a 14-point lead, but the Suns (2-2) went on a 22-7 run, including 10 unanswered points, to take a one-point lead. Markieff Morris gave the Suns their lead on a 3-pointer with about three minutes left in the quarter.“We have to defend better,” Paul said. “We can’t have those stretches when we let teams get comfortable and do whatever they want, but we want to figure it out and win at the same time.”Josh Smith buoyed the Clippers in the final minutes of the third quarter, fending off the Suns’ run with back-to-back 3-pointers before tossing up a lob to Wesley Johnson to give L.A. a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Clippers face the only other undefeated team in the Western Conference next, playing at Golden State on Wednesday. The Warriors beat the Grizzlies by 50 points Monday night behind a 30-point performance from Stephen Curry. While the Warriors have routed opponents en route to their unblemished record, the Clippers have needed to survive game likes Monday’s.Differing paths aside, Rivers is looking forward to the early season marquee matchup of Western Conference rivals. “You’re both as good as your record,” Rivers said. “They’re undefeated and we’re undefeated. No matter how many points you win by, you’re both undefeated. But we’ll see, they’re the champs.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img The Clippers bench scored 41 points, led by guard Jamal Crawford’s 11. The 35-year-old Crawford now has 16,003 for his career. He is the 23rd shooting guard in NBA history to eclipse the 16,000-point mark. Forward Blake Griffin, who entered the game averaging 32 points, finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Chris Paul, the league’s second-leading assist man entering Monday’s game, had only five. He didn’t get an assist in the second half until 3:48 remained in the game. Paul finished with 17 points and five turnovers. Paul’s first assist in the second half came on a much-needed 3-pointer from J.J. Redick that put the Clippers up by five. Griffin scored five of the final 10 points for the Clippers to help keep L.A. undefeated. Redick finished with 10 points, all of his field goals coming from beyond the arc, where he was 3 for 10. last_img

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