The best thing about the Clippers -- from the Suns' perspective -- is that they don't have James Harden on their roster. Harden, of the only-two-career-30-point-games-before-last-night's-40 Hardens. At the middle of the 4th, Harden had made 20-of-27 shots (9-of-13 3-pointers) and 20-of-21 free throws for 70 points in his last two games against the Suns. Ugh.
But enough about last night's game.
Tonight's opponent is no easier. Since scuffling a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Clippers have righted their ship by winning 13 of their last 15 games to hold onto 4th place in the West, including a 92-77 win over the Thunder three nights ago (Harden was 1-of-11 in that game, by the way) and a 104-98 win over Denver last night. Chris Paul is possibly the best PG in the league, and Blake Griffin is a dunking, double-double, highlight machine.
But hey, Grant Hill might be back! And the Suns stars might be rested and ready for a big game. Steve Nash had only five assists in 28 minutes of action. Marcin Gortat has plenty of baskets saved up in his back pocket after going 2 for 13 against the Thunder. And the Suns as a whole did not waste a lot of energy against the Thunder, looking quite flat most of the night. No bruises or scrapes from laying out for the ball, no bruised wrists from dunking too hard or anything like that.
Tonight is different. Tonight HAS to be different. If the Suns don't play with all-out abandon against the Clippers tonight, then they will have a tough time making the playoffs.
This is the latest iteration of "it," Suns fans. After dropping back to 9th place last night, the Suns need to win three of their last four games, including a win over Utah, to comfortably win a playoff spot.
The Suns have not lost two games in a row since the last time they played the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back on March 28. But that was a road game, the Suns' sixth game in six different cities in eight nights.
This time the Suns are at home, where they have won 11 of their last 14.
They have beaten the Clippers two out of three times this year, the only loss on the aforementioned sixth game in six different cities in eight nights.
And on games with no rest (back end of B2B or B2B2B), the Suns have won 10 of their last 14, so there's no reason fatigue should be a factor either.