Griffin’s improbable 3-pointer propels Clippers past Phoenix Suns in overtime: By the Numbers
Monday night’s game in Los Angeles had just about everything: a triple-double, a player surpassing 40 points, an extra period and a game-winning buzzer-beater.
Unfortunately for the Phoenix Suns, it didn’t include a win.
The Suns were back at the site of where they blew out the Western Conference powerhouse Clippers last Dec. 30, showing the rest of the league they were for real en route to nearly reaching 50 wins in the 2013-14 campaign.
The visitors looked poised to pull off another upset late in Monday’s contest, but Clippers forward Blake Griffin got an extra-friendly roll on a buzzer-beating three-pointer, which brought Los Angeles from down two to ahead by one when it counted most.
The Clippers emerged in overtime 121-120, dropping the Suns to 1-2 on their three-game Western Conference road trip.
Phoenix fell to 12-10 overall, but is still a half-game ahead of Sacramento for the eighth-best record in the West. Los Angeles improved to 15-5, tied with San Antonio for the West’s fifth spot.
Here’s a look at Monday’s overtime thriller, by the numbers:
Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford was ejected in the second half for the first time in his career. He argued a call, received a technical foul and then was tossed out.
ESPN writer Arash Markazi had his own take on Crawford’s ejection.
Did Crawford yell at Lindsay? Yes. Did he get close to his face? Yes. Did he touch him? No. Did he deserve to be ejected? No.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 9, 2014
Markieff Morris’ three three-pointers, two of which came in overtime, equaled his total over the previous 12 games. The 6-foot-10 forward hit 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, and he made 8-of-16 shots overall, atoning for his 2-for-14 performance Saturday in Houston. Morris also added seven rebounds, two steals and one block in 28 minutes.
Suns center Alex Len spent a lot of time guarding Griffin and picked up six fouls for his first career disqualification. Len, however, contributed on the offensive end, making 6-of-11 shots for 14 points, also adding seven rebounds in 26 minutes.
Eric Bledsoe dished out a career-high 16 assists. He was in double-figures in points and assists by midway through the third quarter. See below for more on his huge night.
Goran Dragic helped the Suns pull even with the Clippers at the end of the first quarter with 12 points in the opening period. The Suns guard was pretty quiet from there, however, adding just five more points for a total of 17. He shot 7-for-14 in the game and had eight assists and two steals in 39 minutes.
The Suns got themselves back into the game, and ultimately overtime, with a strong 32-23 fourth quarter, led by strong play from Bledsoe and Marcus Morris. L.A. got the last laugh with a 9-8 advantage in overtime.
Griffin was the go-to man for Los Angeles, as he poured in a season-high 45 points, two shy of his career-best mark. The power forward made 14-of-24 shots and also took 17 free throws, hitting 15 of them. The Oklahoma product also made both of his three-point attempts, including the game-winner.
Bledsoe had an all-around outstanding night, posting 27 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes. It was the guard’s first career triple-double, and the first for the Suns since Boris Diaw recorded the feat against Golden State on Dec. 15, 2006, nearly eight years ago. Bledsoe shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line, and he also had two steals and two blocks, including one on Chris Paul at the end of regulation to force overtime.
ESPN’s J.A. Adande tweeted the following when Bledsoe first reached the triple-double Monday:
Triple double for Eric Bledsoe. 27 pts 14 assists 10 rebs. That's his reward for our pregame chat on Coast to Coast!
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) December 9, 2014