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Clippers have score to settle with Suns

L.A. plays Tuesday night at Phoenix, which won handily at Staples Center in December. 'That's a good team over there,' Clippers guard Chris Paul says.

March 02, 2014|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers point guard Chris Paul looks on during the second half of a Dec. 30 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Paul says Phoenix is one of the most overlooked teams in the NBA.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul looks on during the second half of a Dec.… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

On Dec. 30, the Clippers got rocked by the Suns at Staples Center, a surprising turn of events because Los Angeles didn't see that coming from a Phoenix team few expected to be that good.

Now the Clippers and the rest of the NBA are fully aware of how good the Suns are, L.A. knowing first-hand after that 19-point beat-down.

The Clippers get to see the Suns again when the two teams meet Tuesday night in Phoenix.

So when asked if there was a revenge factor for that game, Coach Doc Rivers smiled and replied, "No, I don't think so."

"I mean, they just only came to our place and beat our butts," Rivers said. "Other than that, you just got to go play. I'm sure our guys remember that. But so does Phoenix. They feel good about it. So it'll be a tough game, especially without a couple of our scorers, because they score. They create an offensive problem."

With shooting guards Jamal Crawford (strained left calf) and J.J. Redick (bulging disk in lower back) out because of injuries, the Clippers are missing a combined 34.7 points per game from their lineup.

"When you have Jamal and J.J. out, sometimes you look to see if you have enough points to match that (Suns offense)," Rivers said.

The 19-point loss to the Suns was the Clippers' second-biggest losing deficit this season.

The Clippers were behind by as much as 29 points to the Suns.

Suns guard Goran Dragic hit the Clippers for 32 points in that game.

The Suns, who are the seventh-seeded team in the tough Western Conference, shot 38.7% from three-point range (12 of 31) against the Clippers.

"It was pretty ugly," Chris Paul said. "That's a good team over there. I think it's probably one of the most overlooked teams in our league right now. They demand and command respect every night. You've got to go there ready to play. They put pressure on you for 48 minutes.

"Goran Dragic I think is an All-Star and he's been playing at a very high level."

Clippers' defense improves

In their last two games, the Clippers held the Houston Rockets to under 100 points and only 44.2% shooting in a victory and the New Orleans Pelicans to under 80 points and only 32.9% shooting in that victory.

Those two games were signs of how good the Clippers can be on defense.

"I know and you probably know too, if we can defend and the better we defend, with the offense that we have, [that] makes us really good," Rivers said. "That's the message I think our guys are starting to get. And I think they are starting to understand that if you can set the tone early in the game defensively, then you can be really good."


The Clippers didn't practice Sunday, but will get back to work Monday before leaving for Phoenix later that afternoon.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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