EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns end 5-game losing streak with win over depleted Clippers

Dec 15, 2022, 10:58 PM
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against LA Clippers center Moses Brown (9) and guard Ami...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against LA Clippers center Moses Brown (9) and guard Amir Coffey (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The circumstances behind the opponent were irrelevant. The Phoenix Suns just needed a win, and one to locate some source of energy and rhythm in after a rough five-game losing streak.

They wrapped up their road trip against the Los Angeles Clippers, a team without several key players on the second game of a back-to-back, and the Suns took care of business 111-95.

The Clippers play six guys at least 25 minutes a night and five of them were out: Paul George (left knee soreness), Reggie Jackson (left Achilles inflammation), Kawhi Leonard (right knee injury management), Norman Powell (left groin strain) and Ivica Zubac (left knee contusion) all sat and so did Luke Kennard (right calf soreness).

Phoenix wasn’t at 100% by any means, missing Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain), Cam Johnson (meniscus tear), Cam Payne (right foot sprain) and Duane Washington Jr. (hip strain) but it didn’t have to play G League players off its bench the way the Clippers did with Brandon Boston Jr., Moussa Diabate and Jason Preston. Moses Brown started at center and he entered the night with 134 minutes.

Mikal Bridges followed up his 4-of-24 showing in Houston by making his first three shots and Chris Paul looked the most comfortable he has all season getting to his shot. The return of Devin Booker after his two-game absence opened the floor up more for others. That was enough for the Suns to show some pep in their step early, a rarity the last two weeks.

The bench kept that going in the first half, and once the starters trickled back in, you could see they had finally located some confidence. Los Angeles folded pretty quickly and let the Suns extend it to a 27-point advantage at halftime.

The Clippers briefly showed some fight in the third quarter, going on a 23-7 run to get within 14 after trailing by 30, but the threat never lasted.

Bridges kept his groove going all night. He had his fifth game this season with at least 25 points, putting him one more away from doubling his career total entering the year of six. He ended up at a team-high 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, quite the bounce-back effort.

Booker was moving like himself and a 6-of-22 shooting night didn’t reflect that. Paul had 13 assists to go with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Josh Okogie was once again everywhere and has more than earned a rotation spot with his inspiring play over this stretch. He produced 11 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

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