Suns lose cool, get crushed by Clippers

The Suns did way too much of this... - USA TODAY Sports

The Suns must have been looking ahead to Christmas festivities, because they looked disinterested for the better part of this game. Tempers flared. Then the Suns flared out. Alvin Gentry was ejected for the first time of the season, as he apparently had some last minute Christmas shopping to attend to. He was lucky to leave early.

Recap:

The game started with Luis Scola attacking the basket on offense and playing his usual matador defense. The Suns and Clippers traded blows in the early part of the quarter, which was played at a fairly frenetic pace. The Clippers closed the quarter on a 14-6 run, to lead 28-24, thanks to an atrocious display of transition defense by Phoenix. The Suns may have been lucky to be down only four, as the Clippers missed a couple wide open opportunities at the end of the period. Chris Paul, 12 points and five assists, and Blake Griffin, eight points and three rebounds, led the way for LA. Marcin Gortat and Scola had eight apiece for the Suns.

The physicality stepped up a bit in the second quarter as the Suns seemed to take the position that a more truculent effort was necessary to stay in the game. A playful skirmish between Jermaine O'Neal and Ronny Turiaf resulted in double technical fouls with the Clippers leading 42-38. Then Gentry got tossed at the 2:33 mark, with the Clippers leading 50-42, drawing two technical fouls arguing a questionable call against Chris Paul on Goran Dragic. The Clippers finished the half on an 8-1 run after that to take a 58-43 lead into halftime. Meltdown.

Chris Paul led all scorers in the first half with 16 points to go along with six assists and four steals. Gortat had eight points and seven rebounds for the Suns. The Clippers shot 53.5% in the first half on 23-43 from the field. The defensive woes continue... The Suns played well enough on offense to be in the game, but their defense, transition D in particular, sabotaged their chances of staying in the game.

The third quarter was a massacre. The Suns were pillaged and plundered. Elston Turner tried valiantly to stem the tide, but to no avail, as LA won the period 33-17. Blake Griffin finished the quarter with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Paul had 17 points, 13 assists and five steals. Jamal Crawford scored eight points in a 1:21 stretch to give him 22 points on the game. The Clippers increased their prodigious shooting to 58.6%, including 62.5% (10-16) from three point range. The Suns were... no comment.

The fourth quarter was garbage time. Final score Clippers 103, Suns 77.

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Player of the Game:

Pick a Clipper, any Clipper. I guess we could play paper, rock, scissors to determine who gets it between Griffin, Paul and Crawford. Dudley looked like he was playing hard, and had 19 points and seven rebounds, so I guess I'd pick him as the "best" Sun.

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Comments of the Game:

If only we still had Taylor Griffin to guard his brother.

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Brown is in full throttle bomber mode.

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Beasley is out with an illness?

Can "sucks" be defined as an illness?

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As bad as the officiating has been,

most of this has been self-inflicted. Our offensive set looks like that of a kindergarten's.

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Trying SOOOOO hard to add excitement.

This pig can't take any more lipstick!

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Rewatched it.

Flop. This is a physical game, of our instigating, and Dragic cried pointlessly IMHO. Man up!

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Suns cannot get stops, story of the game.

Sh$@, story of most of the season.

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This game is a crime against entertainment.

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The Good:

The Suns managed not to get beat by 40. That's all I got.

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The Bad:

Goran in early foul trouble again. This has become an epidemic. He then proceeded to finish with 7 points (2-8 from the field), ONE assist and three turnovers in 29 minutes. If this whole game hadn't turned into such an embarrassing imbroglio he would be right in the middle of the ugly column. Compared to the rest of the savage ass whipping, Goran fit right in. A disturbing pattern of Dragic getting owned by opposing point guards seems to be more than an anamoly.

Shannon "the Cannon" Brown. He's the guard version of Luis Scola, only much more selfish and slightly more useless when he's not contributing on offense. Watching him play when he's not shooting well is actually physically painful. When a player takes 13 shots, he typically has more made field goals than turnovers, but Brown the trendsetter has never been known to settle for the norm.

Gentry and the Suns let the officiating get in their heads. Right or wrong, and there were definitely some "suspect" calls, as soon as they became querulous they became frazzled and the game was effectively over.

I could go on, but I'm calling it an early night. Just like the Suns did.

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The Ugly:

The entire game from the time Gentry got ejected. That was definitively the defining moment in which the game was absolutely over. I don't know that I'd assert that the Suns actually quit, but they seemed discomfited from that point on and couldn't regain their equanimity. It also doesn't help that the Clippers are a much better team.

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I guess it's another one to throw in the garbage and forget about, but it seems like the garbage can is getting full.

The Suns may not be very good, but they can't annul my Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas Brightsiders! Catch you on the flipside of the holiday.

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