Eric Bledsoe made his return to the arena he called home for the first three years of his NBA career, but it was his fellow backcourt starter that was the star of the Phoenix Suns’ 107-88 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night.
Goran Dragic scored a game-high 26 points at the Staples Center and added eight assists and five steals. Gerald Green came off the bench for the Suns to score 21 points, including a 5-for-10 night from 3-point range.
The Suns held Los Angeles at a distance the entire evening. A 31-16 second quarter put Phoenix up 21 at halftime, and the Suns took a 29-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Four players reached double digits in scoring for the Clippers, but the team only shot 36.2 percent from the field en route to its lopsided loss.
Phoenix improved to 19-11 on the season, including 8-7 on the road. Los Angeles lost at home for just the third time all season, and the Clippers dropped to 21-12 overall, tied with Houston for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference.
Dragic shot 10-for-15 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
The Suns shot a strong 48.2 percent in the game.
Markieff Morris had the only double-double in the game, with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He also added three assists, a steal and a block.
Starting forwards Channing Frye and P.J. Tucker both had 12 points apiece. Frye made four out of seven 3-pointers and Tucker grabbed seven rebounds.
The Suns held superstar point guard Chris Paul to 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting and seven assists in 30 minutes. Blake Griffin, who came in averaging 10.6 rebounds a game, only grabbed five in 28 minutes and shot 5-for-15 from the field.
Phoenix racked up 17 steals as a team. The team also had nine blocks — compared to the Clippers’ four. Miles Plumlee lead everyone with three swats.
The Suns came up just short in the board war, getting outrebounded 48-45, but they gave up 19 rebounds to Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, including six on the offensive glass.
Phoenix shot just 59.1 percent (13-for-22) from the free throw line.
Bledsoe had a quiet night in his return to the Staples Center. He shot 3-for-10 from the field and 1-for-4 from the charity stripe, and had just seven points and four assists in 31 minutes.
Marcus Morris, coming off an 18-point game in Saturday’s home win over Philadelphia, scored only one point and shot 0-for-6 from the field.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Phoenix went into L.A. and faced the Clippers’ large front line, that which includes Griffin and Jordan, and won the points-in-the-paint war 44-36.
– When the Suns entered the fourth quarter with a 29-point lead, it was their largest margin over an opponent at any point this season.
– The Suns came into the game leading the NBA in fast break points with 19 per game. They finished with 18 Monday, while allowing 15 to the Clippers.
– Green has hit five or more 3-pointers in a game six times this year.
– Dionte Christmas scored seven points in six minutes. It was his highest point total in a game since he scored nine in his NBA debut on Nov. 1.
– The Suns have won 10 out of their last 12.
The Suns host the 13-17 Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. MST. The last time the two teams played, the Grizzlies won easily at home 110-91 on Dec. 3. The Suns won five games in a row after that loss. Catch the game on Arizona Sports 620 AM or Fox Sports Arizona.