The Clippers are coming off of an impressive victory over the Utah Jazz, 108-104. The Clippers never trailed in the game, extended their lead to 17 points before squandering it. But Eric Gordon dropped in 13 in the final quarter to help stave off the Jazz.
The Suns have pwned the Clips (did I do that right?) of late, winning the past 7 meetings. Yet that streak means very little tonight. The Clippers are playing with nothing to lose, and coming off a huge win over the Jazz. Don't believe me? Listen to Amare:
"You can never underestimate anyone. If you overestimate then you underestimate yourself."
Y'all just got some serious knowledge dropped on ya. And Knowledge is Knowing, don't forget.
All jokes aside, this is a difficult assignment tonight. I don't think AG takes his former employer lightly nor do I think AG will let his squad pretend that this game will be a cake walk.
Chris Kaman will most likely come out angry and aggressive, challenging Robin from the get go to prove that it's his house and his lane. Eric Gordon went for 25 last time out against the Suns, including 4-8 from behind the arc. But Gordon has struggled to carry over a strong game to the next. He's had one back to back 20+ scoring efforts this season, albeit against Minnesota and Washington.Craig Smith will sit this game out with a bicep injury, which leaves Travis Outlaw as his replacement.
As for the rest of the Clippers, Baron had 13 and 5 last week against the Suns off of 5-13 shooting. Steve Blake didn't score, but passed off 9 assists and generally plays well against the Suns in his reserve roll, averaging 9 ppg, 5 apg, while averaging 47% from beyond the arc.
The last match up was all about Lopez. But he had a supporting cast including Grant Hill-18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, Amare Stoudemire-20 points, Steve Nash-11 assists, Jason Richardson-14 points, 6 rebounds. The Suns bench stepped up in clutch time, totaling 35 points, 10 assists (Dragon), and 10 rebounds.
For the Suns to pick up a W tonight, they'll most likely have to focus on the following:
- Slow down Gordon. He can dominate in short bursts. J Rich has his work cut out for him.
- Continue to bother Kaman and Gooden. Lopez got under their skin last time. I would expect the calls to go the other way tonight as I would expect Kaman to be super motivated, out to prove he's the man and Lopez just a kid.
- Keep Gooden off the glass. Easier said than done. But Amare's 3 boards compared to Gooden's 9 last week (4 offensive) simply won't suffice. Amare needs to estimate himself and the Clippers correctly. If he overestimates the Clips, is that good? Better than underestimating them. And as for how he should estimate himself...Well maybe stop estimating altogether and play the game.
- More D. Last time out the defense was simply "not so good," as Gentry put it. The Suns allowed the Clips to shoot 48% from the field, but 12-25 (48%) from three point land which reeks of either poor rotations, stepping under the screen, slow close outs, or just laziness-you tell me. Although the Suns out-rebounded the Clippers 40-34 a few nights ago, the Clippers led in offensive rebounding, 10-8.
Suns Vs. Clippers This Year
- 10/28 in @LA - Phoenix 109 - Clippers 107: Recap
- 12/25 @PHX - Phoenix 124 - Clippers 93: Recap
- 2/26th @Phoenix - Phoenix 125 - Clippers 112: Recap
- The Clippers have won 4 straight games at home
- The Clippers have only 3 victories in games in which they give up over 100 points. the Clips are 3-26 this season when an opponent scores over 100 points
- Baron Davis ranks 8th in the NBA with Pts/Ass double doubles (14)
- Drew Gooden is averaging 17 and 10, while shooting 51% in 4 games as a Clipper starter
- The Suns are 15-17 on the road this year, averaging 107 ppg, while allowing 108 ppg
- In the past 9 games (7-2), The Suns are holding teams to 97.4 points and 44.3 percent shooting
- The Suns currently occupy the 5th seed in the west, a half game ahead of Oklahoma City, and a game behind the Utah Jazz. The Clippers are 8.5 games back from number 8 seed Portland