The Final Countdown - Phoenix Suns at L.A. Clippers Game Preview


 

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THIS GAME STARTS AT 12:30 PM ARIZONA TIME!  CONSIDER THIS POST YOUR GAME THREAD HOMIES!

The Final Countdown

We are coming down to the wire here this season - we only have 15 games left and we are currently a game behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West. Only 15 games left... That doesn't seem like much but we can at least look for playoff hopes in the fact that 15 games is the most games that any team has left to play in the Western Conference.  Maybe I should have worded that with a little more positivity, like Paul Coro did in his game preview,

[Having 15 games still] is fortuitous, now that they are sitting outside the NBA playoffs club because the bouncer does not deem them worthy yet.

The Suns probably need to pile up wins like they never have this season. That makes having more games to play than any other team in the playoff race a good thing, especially when they have to pass three teams to get in the postseason door. Phoenix's best run this season was an 11-3 stretch.

There is a strong chance that 11-4, which would put the Suns at 45-37, would not be good enough, but they can at least look at Friday night's win against Golden State and feel as if they resemble that type of team. With forward Channing Frye back in the lineup and point guard Steve Nash back to form, their hopes at getting hot down the stretch gained traction.

That's all the positivity I can give you guys.  Well, and the knowledge that Channing Frye is back for his 2nd game after recovering from injury (he looked darn good in his first) and Steve Nash looked better shooting the ball and moving around... he says he feels better as well, buy you can never believe anything Nash says about how he feels - he's got a great poker-face.

So the final countdown eh?  Yeah, maybe in more ways than one does this song apply to the tail end of our season.  I mean if you believe in such things like me as 'the end of the world' we're definitely seeing some of the foreseen signs; earthquakes, volcanoes, sunami's, nuclear meltdowns, more wars, youtube videos like this one, and now knife wielding intruders at NBA basketball games.  Yup - that just happened yesterday.  At the Staples Center, before the Clippers game.  Here's how it went down,

An armed intruder stormed onto the Staples Center court just over an hour before Saturday's matinee matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Though authorities don't know what the man's intentions or motivations were, he was brandishing a knife, and was eventually brought down after a hail of rubber bullet fire from security guards and police officers after a 20-minute standoff and led into custody. No fans, authorities, or members of either organization were hurt or seriously threatened.

WTF.

Matchups

Steve Nash - Mo Williams
Vince Carter - Eric Gordon
Grant Hill - Ryan Gomes
Channing Frye - Blake Griffin
Robin Lopez - DeAndre Jordan


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Eric Gordon 44 37.3 8.0 17.2 46.5 2.0 5.3 37.0 5.8 7.1 82.4 0.8 2.2 3.0 4.4 2.6 1.2 0.3 2.1 23.8
Blake Griffin 70 37.8 8.3 16.6 50.3 0.1 0.3 35.0 5.5 8.6 64.5 3.4 8.7 12.1 3.6 2.7 0.7 0.5 3.0 22.3
Mo Williams 46 30.4 5.1 13.0 39.0 1.2 3.9 30.2 2.6 3.2 82.8 0.4 2.2 2.6 6.8 3.0 1.0 0.2 2.6 13.9
Chris Kaman 25 24.2 5.2 11.4 45.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.1 1.4 77.1 1.4 5.0 6.4 1.4 1.6 0.4 1.2 2.4 11.4
Randy Foye 51 24.5 3.3 8.5 38.5 1.1 3.5 33.0 2.3 2.5 91.5 0.1 1.3 1.5 2.7 1.6 0.7 0.3 1.8 10.0
Ryan Gomes 70 28.8 2.9 6.9 41.6 1.0 2.9 34.3 0.9 1.2 71.8 0.8 2.7 3.5 1.6 0.7 0.9 0.2 2.2 7.6
Eric Bledsoe 70 24.0 2.7 6.4 42.4 0.4 1.5 27.8 1.3 1.7 75.4 0.9 2.1 3.0 3.8 2.5 1.1 0.3 1.6 7.2
DeAndre Jordan 70 25.9 2.9 4.3 68.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.1 2.6 43.2 2.5 4.6 7.1 0.5 1.2 0.5 1.7 3.2 7.0
Ike Diogu 31 14.0 2.4 4.4 55.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.7 71.7 1.3 2.2 3.5 0.1 0.7 0.1 0.1 2.1 6.1
Al-Farouq Aminu 69 18.3 2.1 5.3 39.3 0.6 2.0 32.6 1.2 1.6 77.1 0.9 2.5 3.4 0.7 1.3 0.8 0.3 1.5 6.0
Craig Smith 36 11.8 2.1 3.7 57.5 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.9 1.3 70.8 0.9 1.5 2.4 0.7 0.8 0.3 0.1 1.7 5.2
Brian Cook 36 11.5 1.8 4.3 40.4 0.9 2.1 41.9 0.4 0.6 63.6 0.4 1.9 2.4 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.3 2.0 4.8
Jamario Moon 49 17.9 1.8 4.3 41.0 0.7 2.2 30.8 0.2 0.3 84.6 0.3 2.4 2.7 1.0 0.4 0.6 0.6 1.0 4.4
Willie Warren 19 7.0 0.7 1.8 37.1 0.3 0.8 33.3 0.3 0.4 75.0 0.1 0.6 0.6 1.4 0.4 0.3 0.0 0.8 1.9


Eric Gordon is back from an injury to his wrist and scored 20-something in their game last night, I think he's fine and we'll need to deal with him.. as well as figuring out a way to limit Blake Griffin's top 10 plays-nominee dunks that he'll produce today.  Will we stick with Channing on him?  Will we see a rematch of Griffin v. Grant Hill (I hope so - last game things got chippy between them and Grant really was able to get under the rook's skin)?  Who am I kidding... I don't think it matters who anyone puts on him - the kid will spin, jump, spin-again, dribble, fly, pose, and then dunk the ball on any and everything in his way.

 

Euty-Keys to the Game

I'm going to give a shot at making cheesy keys here like the guys on t.v. do. Here they are,

Lunch Pail - no Breakfast Buffet

Bench Marks the Spot

Flatulation Suppressimavation

But what do they mean Eutychus!?!?!?

I'm glad you asked.

Lunch Pail - no Breakfast Buffet - Though it's an early start (12:30 AZ Time) game... it's late enough to be lunch time not breakfast time so let's limit the turnovers (Captain Obvious assumes turnovers of a wide variety such as cherry, apple, boysenberry, raspberry, pinnapple, etc., are served in a breakfast buffet) and lets play hard and smart basketball for 48 minutes.  Get it?  Bring your lunch pail = hard work?

Bench Marks the Spot - You know when you are on your buddy's clipper boat, and he leans over to you and is like, "Yo man I got this treasure map you want to look for the treasure that is marked on this treasure map by a big X?"  Yeah this key to the game is kind of like that.  Except we're going to be riding dirty all over the L.A. Clippers and our bench in is going to be the 'X' that marks the treasure that is a win.  It all starts with Aaron Brooks who needs to play better and he knows it - the Clippers will be a good team for him to light up, hopefully he can lead our squad - and I agree with what Eddie Johnson and Tom Chambers were saying during Friday's game.  They said Brooks is trying to hard to be like Nash - and needs to be the score-first PG that he is,  it's like he's having an identity crisis now that he's with Steve... I think we've seen this before.  Hopefully he can snap out of it.

So I just wrote this whole thing about A.B. needing to have a great game and this pops up on my twitter,

4skh_medium

With that news... this key becomes even more important - but now it will be up to Dr.Z and March G to make the wheels on the short-bus go round and round.  Jared Dudley always brings his 'A' game -  let's hope this 2nd unit can band together and make up for the loss of Brooks today.  Dang.

Flatulation Suppressimavation - Don't stink Suns.  That's all I ask.

Okay so I suck at these horrible cliche-dripping 'keys to the game' things... I'll never do this again. (*fingers probably crossed)

Let's get er' done.  After all - "It's the Final Countdown!" [Europe voice].

Consider this your game thread as well.

Euty.  Out.

Check out Seth's take over at SBNationAZ -

The Los Angeles Clippers are a dangerous team, far more so then their reputation and record (27-43) would indicate. The Phoenix Suns found that out once already this season when they went into Staples Center and got beat by Blake Griffin's fresh new team on December 26.

Suns vs Clippers coverage

Suns vs Clippers preview

Clips Nation

Eric Gordon returned to the Clippers lineup yesterday, and they won the game. Coincidence? Well, not really. Of the past 44 games, Gordon has missed 24. In the 20 he's played, the Clippers are 15-5 - in the 24 he's missed, they're 7-17. That's 10 games over .500 with him, 10 under .500 without him. It's hard to explain why Gordon has such a massive impact on the team. He's their leading scorer of course, and far and away their biggest perimeter threat. He also happens to be the team's best perimeter defender, so he's helping on both sides of the ball. But still, it doesn't seem to explain the numbers. One thing that is difficult to quantify is the virtuous cycle with Gordon on the floor (or conversely the vicious cycle without him). Defenses have to worry about another top scorer, and not just key on Blake Griffin. Gordon is the best deep threat, which opens up more space for Griffin. With more space and more freedom, Griffin is better with Gordon. And as Griffin gets better, Gordon gets more open looks. Against the lowly Cavs yesterday, Gordon and Griffin did it almost all alone - they scored 59 of the team's 100 points. Against the Suns, who are still fighting for a playoff spot, they're going to need more help. Chris Kaman is a likely candidate to step up - he's been awful the last two games, but was looking really solid before that.


Brooks throwing the ball at the official in Friday's game:





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