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Dragic, Green lead Suns in rout of Clippers

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LA – Jeff Hornacek and Doc Rivers performed towards each other for thirteen seasons in the NBA. This was the primary time they matched up as head coaches in a sport that counted, and Hornacek’s Phoenix Suns gave the Los Angeles Clippers a not-so-subtle reminder of how quickly turnovers can turn into quick-break factors.

Goran Dragic had 26 factors and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter, Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench, and the Suns ended the 12 months with a 107-88 rout of the Clippers on Monday night time.

The Clippers went up in opposition to a team that started the day averaging a league-greatest 19.1 quick-break points, and allowed 18 for the game. Phoenix scored the first 9 factors, seven off three Clippers turnovers. The Suns converted 20 turnovers into 20 points total, including a three-point play by Dragic that gave them a 45-34 lead with four:fifty five left within the first half.

“That is our game. We try to play a quick, up-tempo sport, and I believe issues are going to be much better if you happen to play like that,” Dragic said. “Taking part in a half-court game is de facto powerful for us, so now we have to push the ball and try to get everyone involved. And when we get into the open courtroom, we’ve got all those open shooters.”

The Suns have received 10 of their final 12 after a 9-9 start and path the defending Pacific Division champion Clippers by a half-sport for the top spot.

“It was an enormous win for us, especially in L.A.,” Dragic said. “We knew it was going to be a tough sport. They seem to be a really good crew, a playoff staff, and they have a number of stars. So our job was to play them strong – especially within the first half – and pressure them to play our rhythm. We did an excellent job of that.”

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford every scored 15 points for Los Angeles, while Chris Paul had 11 factors and 7 assists. It was essentially the most lopsided loss of the season for the Clippers, who beat the Suns the previous three times they hosted them – by an average margin of 20 factors.

“I feel we did a great job of being actually unselfish and looking for one another,” stated Channing Frye, who put the clamps on Griffin following his 40-point effort over Utah on Saturday night.

“We had 26 assists, so we did a greater job of pushing the pace and executing. It’s not like we’re shooting off the wall, but guys are taking the best photographs more often than not. Hopefully we are able to keep in mind how onerous we played tonight and may continue that into the brand new 12 months so we will stay in that groove we’re in.”

The Suns have been 12 for 31 on three-pointers towards the Clippers, who got here in with the league’s finest defense against 3-level shooting (32.7 %).

Dragic, who averaged solely 9.2 points in his 17 previous video games towards the Clippers, powered the Suns to a 61-forty halftime lead with 20 factors. Green added 14 within the second quarter, including a trio of 3-pointers that helped gasoline a sixteen-4 run in the remaining four:08 of the half.

“We generally tend every now and again to go into a lull and give up some straightforward baskets, but tonight I thought we were actually alert,” Hornacek mentioned. “After they rolled to the basket, we had been there to help. And once they kicked it out, the fellows have been rotating. We simply challenged each shot, they usually did not have a lot of simple pictures.”

Los Angeles received no nearer than sixteen within the second half. Griffin and Paul both sat out the fourth quarter with the Clippers trailing 88-59 via three.

“They simply kept pushing it at us,” Paul mentioned. “On an evening like this when our offense isn’t going, we’ve got to have the ability to depend on our protection. Tonight we couldn’t. I don’t assume they caught us off guard. We knew how they have been going to play. They hit us within the mouth early, they usually just dominated us through and through. Luckily it solely counts as one loss.”

Eric Bledsoe, who came in as Phoenix’s main scorer with an 18.four common, played his first sport against the team he spent his first 4 NBA seasons with and completed with seven factors and 4 assists in 31 minutes.

Sport notes

This will be the first time in franchise historical past that the Clippers make it to New Yr’s Day with out a dropping streak of greater than two games in a full season… Griffin has drawn a league-excessive 123 fouls. The Suns fouled him six instances… Not one of the Clippers’ different eleven losses have been by more than 14 points… Los Angeles C

DeAndre Jordan

played 21 scoreless minutes in the first half with 12 rebounds. He completed with two points and 19 boards… The Clippers took their only lead, 14-13, on a pair of free throws by Griffin.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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