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Suns take the fight out of the Clippers

Zach Randolph is ejected in the first quarter after punching a Phoenix player, and it all goes downhill from there for the Clippers.

February 18, 2009|Associated Press

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns made things easy for Alvin Gentry in his first game as their interim coach. The Clippers did, too.

Leandro Barbosa scored 24 points and Amare Stoudemire added 23 to help Phoenix rout the Clippers, 140-100, on Tuesday night.

One day after Gentry replaced Terry Porter, who was fired after a 28-23 start, the Suns wasted little time blowing out the woeful Clippers, who fell to 13-41. Reverting to its favored up-tempo style, Phoenix raced to an 81-49 halftime lead -- matching a U.S. Airways Center record for points in a half -- and coasted from there.

Only the New York Knicks, led by former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, have scored more points in a half this year -- 82, against Golden State on Nov. 29.

"I like our effort and I like what we did," Gentry said. "We're not ready to crown ourselves NBA champs yet, OK?"

The Suns' win came at the expense of a Clippers team without center Marcus Camby, out with an inner ear problem. The Clippers also played most of the game without leading scorer Zach Randolph, who was ejected in the first quarter after punching Phoenix reserve Louis Amundson.

"Zach getting thrown out of the game was just a nightmare for us trying to play against their size," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said.

Randolph knocked Amundson to the floor with his left elbow, then glared down at him. When Amundson stood to face him, Randolph threw a punch with his left hand and connected with a solid blow. He was immediately ejected, and is almost certain to be suspended.

"He hopped up and got in my face and almost kissed me in my mouth," Randolph said. "I just pushed him out of my face. If I would have hit him, he wouldn't have got up off the ground."

Said Amundson: "I was getting in his face, but I wasn't trying to kiss him."

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