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Suns Strokes: No buzzer-beater required for Clippers in rout of Phoenix
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Suns Strokes: No buzzer-beater required for Clippers in rout of Phoenix

No lucky bounces needed this time — just flat-out good shooting by Blake Griffin.

With some help from his teammates, Griffin pushed the Clippers past the Suns 120-100 in front of 17,066 at US Airways Center on Sunday.

Griffin scored 23 points, Chris Paul added 23 and 12 assists, and DeAndre Jordan went for 18 and a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Clippers (30-14) won their fourth straight and sixth in row against the Suns, who have dropped back-to-back games following a four-game winning streak.

It was Griffin who broke the Suns’ hearts in their previous meeting, scoring 45 points, including a step-back 3-pointer that caromed off the backboard and rim before dropping through the basket at the buzzer to give the Clippers a 121-120 overtime victory Dec. 8 in Los Angeles.

This time around, Griffin was 11-of-19 from the field with only two dunks.

Trailing by 12 entering the fourth quarter, the Suns pulled to within two before the Clippers went on a 15-0 run to re-take control of the game, 111-94.

The Suns made only one field goal — an Isaiah Thomas jumper — in the final 7:30, missing 9-of-10 shots, after Gerald Green’s 3 cut the lead to 96-94.

Thomas scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter.

After a 41-point second quarter, the Suns took a 57-55 lead into the locker room, but managed only 43 points in the second half. The Clippers scored 65.

The Suns are now 4-2 during their eight-game homestand.

THE GOOD

Bledsoe had a hand in 12 of the Suns’ 16 first-quarter points. He scored four points and dished out four assists. Later in the third quarter, Bledsoe scored six points with one assist, on a Thomas 3, to account for nine of the Suns 20 third-quarter points. Bledsoe finished with 17 points and seven assists, giving him his fourth straight game with at least 17 points and six assists, a career-long streak.

The Suns fed the hot hand in the second quarter: Marcus Morris scored the first 11 points, including a pair of 3s, and Goran Dragic added the next six. Dragic also had five assists in the quarter — the last setting up a Bledsoe 3 — to erase a 10-point deficit thanks to a 22-11 run that gave the Suns a 51-50 lead late in the quarter.

The Suns also received a strong second-quarter effort from Alex Len. He scored eight points on 3-of-3 shooting, giving him 12 points in the first half — the first time in five games Len reached double figures. He finished with 15 points.

The Suns’ 41-point quarter was two shy of a season-high for most second-quarter points. The team shot 63.6 percent (14-of-22), including 4-of-5 from 3. The Suns misfired on all five of their attempts in the first quarter.

Thomas has now scored at least 20 points in four straight games, his longest streak as a Sun and the first four-game streak of 20-plus points by a Suns reserve since Joe Johnson did so in four straight off the bench from April 11-16 of 2003.

THE BAD

Jordan blocked three of the Suns’ first five shot attempts. He started with a rejection of Markieff Morris and then swatted P.J. Tucker twice. Jordan, who finished with four blocks, entered the game averaging 2.35 blocks per game, second in the NBA only to the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis (2.90).

After missing six of their first seven shots, the Clippers made 10-of-18 during a 21-10 run and closed the first quarter with a 23-16 lead. Griffin scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

The Clippers twice led by 10 points in the second quarter, each time thanks to Jamal Crawford, who scored a layup and hit a 3-pointer as part of his seven-point first half.

Spencer Hawes, whom the Suns targeted in the offseason, scored eight of his 11 points in the third quarter. He hit back-to-back 3s, the second of which put the Clippers up 85-72, their largest lead of the game at the time.

The Suns played nearly the entire second half without Markieff Morris, who picked up a technical foul less than 90 seconds into the third quarter. It was his 10th of the season, the second most in the NBA. Morris was replaced by his brother Marcus at the 9:50 mark and never returned.

STAT OF THE GAME

17-1: The Clippers’ advantage on second-chance points, thanks to 14 offensive rebounds. The Suns’ single second-chance point was a season-low.

HE SAID IT

“I don’t know, the stats say he had four (blocked shots). That can’t be right. It seemed like he had 14. So, you know, he’s a big influence down there and again, we’ve got to be aware of where he’s at. He does such a great job of coming from a distance, where you think you have a layup, but he’s so long that he still gets it. So, it’s trying to drive in there, bring him to you and then try to make extra passes.” -Suns coach Jeff Hornacek on Jordan

NOTED

Jordan, who recorded his team-leading 23rd double-double of the season, did not miss a shot from the field (5-of-5) for the 13th time this season, the most of any player in the NBA.

Reggie Bullock made his first Suns appearance, checking in with 2:31 remaining in the game — just enough time to make and miss his only field-goal attempt.

Brandon Wright was inactive, missing his first Suns game because of a sore left heel.

Suns color analyst Tim Kempton celebrated his 51st birthday.

UP NEXT

The Suns play the penultimate game of their longest homestand in franchise history on Wednesday, Jan. 28 against the Washington Wizards.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

The Suns won the first meeting this season in Washington and are going for their first two-game sweep in the series since 2010-11.

The Suns beat the Wizards 104-92 on Dec. 21, with six players scoring in double figures, including Gerald Green, Marcus Morris and Isaiah Thomas off the bench. The victory completed a sweep of a three-game Eastern Conference road trip.

The Wizards have won two straight in Phoenix.