Griffin, Clippers Win Eighth Straight
L. A. – Blake Griffin is nothing short of a lightning rod – for teammates, opposing players and referees. He can also play any sort of game required to keep the Los Angeles Clippers close to the top of the Western Conference standings.
Griffin scored 22 of his 37 factors in the first quarter and made 14 of 16 photographs earlier than fouling out, and the Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-a hundred and five on Monday evening for his or her eighth straight victory.
"I didn't even understand he had 22 within the first quarter till halftime," level guard Chris Paul stated. "I felt like the largest dummy, because he in all probability should have gotten the ball even more than he did. I know he will get off to good starts and stuff, but tonight it was crazy."
Things got testy with 5:28 remaining, as Griffin and P.J. Tucker started wrestling on the ground after they jockeyed for position in the paint on a missed three-level shot by Matt Barnes and Griffin fell on high of Tucker.
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Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker briefly scuffled on the ground within the fourth quarter, an change for which Tucker was ejected, while Griffin stayed within the sport – until he fouled out with three:23 remaining.
The 2 had to be separated, and the game was delayed while referees Bennie Adams, Jason Phillips and Matt Boland examined the video monitor to type it all out. Tucker was charged with a unfastened ball foul and then ejected, while Griffin stayed in the game – till he fouled out with three:23 remaining.
"You just sort of assess the play because it occurs," Griffin mentioned. "In the moment, I do not wish to put my crew or myself in a nasty scenario. So you simply have to weigh the professionals and cons at that time. Just to do one thing silly and get kicked out or suspended would not help. We already have injuries and guys who are banged up, so we don't need that."
The 4-time All-Star entered Monday having drawn a league-excessive 469 fouls, forty greater than Houston's Dwight Howard.
"Blake comes in and he does his job. They usually do not like it," coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "Blake will get hit as a lot as anybody. I think we now have all seen it, and it will get outdated. I do know it's very tough for him, however I believe he's doing the fitting thing. He puts his arms up – as a result of if he reacts, like some folks say he ought to, then he gets thrown out, he gets suspended, and it hurts the crew."
Darren Collison scored 20 factors and Paul added 17 factors and 11 assists for the Pacific Division leaders, who were 55.1 % from the field and improved to 23-1 when shooting a minimum of 50 p.c.
Goran Dragic had 23 factors and five assists throughout a foul-plagued 33 minutes for the Suns, who slipped a half-game behind idle Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West and are 1 half behind Dallas. Phoenix hasn't made the postseason since 2010 underneath coach Alvin Gentry, now a Clippers affiliate head coach.
"Give Phoenix credit. They're playing for his or her lives proper now and they want every win, so you knew they weren't going away," Rivers stated. "At least that is the way in which I felt on the bench."
Gerald Green, who had a career-excessive forty one factors for the Suns in final Thursday's 128-122 win over Oklahoma City, completed with sixteen factors after averaging 23.four over his previous thirteen games. Miles Plumlee, enjoying his second game after lacking the previous two because of a sprained proper knee, had 12 factors and nine rebounds as all five Suns starters scored in double figures.
Dragic came in averaging 20.5 points, third within the league amongst level guards behind Stephen Curry (23.5) and Kyrie Irving (21.5). But he picked up his third foul 2 minutes into the second quarter and wasn't a factor till the fourth, when the Suns rallied from a 19-level deficit with eight:11 remaining and received it all the way down to 109-105 on Dragic's layup with 32.5 seconds to play.
But that was as shut as they bought, as Barnes made three of 4 free throws to shut it out.
Los Angeles was leading one zero five-95 when Griffin picked up his sixth foul on a charge under the basket. Dragic made a pair of driving layups 28 seconds apart to slice the margin to one zero five-99 with 2:21 to go. But Paul responded with a sixteen-foot bank shot and two free throws for an eight-point cushion with 1:21 left.
"They got up early on us. We fell again and continued to play. It was just a type of conditions where it was too little, too late," Tucker mentioned. "It occurs to us quite a bit. In opposition to the top teams in the league, you'll be able to't get down by a lot early. Even coming again and making it shut on the end isn't enough.
"We ran out of gas."
Clippers G Jamal Crawford was on the inactive record for the fourth time in five video games due to a left calf strain. He tried to play via it during Saturday's win over Atlanta, but spent only 9 1-2 minutes on the courtroom and attempted two shots – each of which missed. "I don't know when he's coming again. I just do not know," Rivers said. "I did not assume he seemed good the opposite night time, just working. I do not become involved very often with that stuff, however he wasn't operating pure, so we'll just wait till he is back to playing 100%.".. The Clippers have scored at a hundred or extra factors in 16 straight home games since their loss to the Suns. It is their longest such streak for the reason that 1983-84 season, their last one in San Diego.
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