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Final Score: Phoenix Suns show fight, but lose to Clippers, 124-118

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Devin Booker had 33 points and 9 assists, and Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis had great games too, but the Suns lost to the Clippers.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Just like everyone thought, the Phoenix Suns who are starting the youngest lineup in league history and on a 9-game losing streak, played the playoff-bound Los Angeles Clippers strong - and nearly won.

But Devin Booker fouled out with 4+ minutes left and the Suns down a couple of possessions, and the Suns just didn’t have enough to keep the Clippers down.

Booker finished with 33 points (14-23 shooting) and 9 assists, against only 3 turnovers.

Tyler Ulis had another double double (16 and 13, versus only 2 turnovers) while T.J. Warren did too (14 and 10). Marquese Chriss posted 20 points and 6 rebounds, plus a pair of assists.

The Clippers made 12 of 22 threes, and 54% of their shots overall. Jamal Crawford (19 points), Chris Paul (29 points, 10 assists) and Blake Griffin (31 points, 6 rebounds) carried the team to an unexpectedly tough victory.

Good job, good effort Suns!

First half

The Suns opened the game in strong fashion, getting out on breaks thanks to Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis steals in the back court.

The Suns took an early 13-8 lead by hitting first, before Chris Paul and the Clippers woke up a bit. DeAndre Jordan did a great early job protecting the rim and rebounding to help the Clippers get off the mat, which means Alex Len had a rough start on both ends (rebounding on one end, catching/finishing on the other).

Chris Paul predictably used his strength to bully Tyler Ulis, and then when Ulis got open for a layup DeAndre Jordan erased it out of nowhere.

But the Suns stayed focused and took the lead back, 24-21, with Marquese Chriss and Booker each scoring 9, accounting for 18 of the Suns first 24 points. Chriss made a three, and had some fast break finishes in traffic - showing his body control as the Clippers tried to contest his shots. That’s a nice development right there. Ulis and Booker combined for 7 assists in that stretch.

The Suns kept the lead through one (35-31) even as the Clippers second unit came in and made every shot they took, thanks to the Suns’ own crisp offense.

Marquese Chriss finished the opening quarter with 12 points, 2 assists and a block. Devin Booker had 11 points and 5 big assists, while Tyler Ulis had a basket and 3 assists and T.J. Warren had a very active 4 points and 4 rebounds.

The second unit momentarily increased the Suns lead to 39-33 until Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford made some tough shots, and Ray Felton made an open three.

The Suns held up though, taking a 48-47 lead on a pair of nice plays by Jared Dudley resulting in a layup and a three.

The Clippers finally broke through when the Suns - players and bench - lost their cool over a couple of questionable calls by the refs and then lost their edge they’d played with all half.

And thus the Suns promising first half ended the way a lot of games have ended lately - with the other team comfortably in the lead.

Clippers 67 (only 12 in the paint), Suns 59 (32 in the paint).

Devin Booker had 19 points and 6 assists at the half.

The Clippers made 9 of 13 threes in that first half, while Blake Griffin had 20 points, Chris Paul 11/7/4 and DeAndre Jordan had 10 rebounds.

Second half

Booker starts the second half with a big-balls shot into the teeth of the Clippers defense designed to deny him a shot.

The Clippers answer with a pair of threes to extend their lead to 10.

The Suns just could not close the gap on the veteran Clippers who, as per the norm for that team, “veteraned” the Suns into committing fouls and making dumb mistakes. Haven’t we seen that from Paul and Griffin and even Crawford for years?

Each time it looked like the Suns could make a little run, the Clippers made yet another outside shot.

The Clippers finally went a bit cold from the field, and the Suns cut the Clippers leads to one point at the end of the third, capped by a 30-footer from Booker and a tip-in at the buzzer by T.J. Warren.

Clippers 93, Suns 92 after three.

Booker had 27 points and 9 assists after three, while Tyler Ulis had 10 points and 9 assists and T.J. Warren had 12 points and 7 rebounds.

The Suns and Clippers stayed toe to toe in the 4th, but after Devin Booker fouled out (33 points, 9 assists) the Suns had a hard time keeping pace.

Still, they didn’t give up. Tyler Ulis had another double double, this time against Chris Paul, and Marquese Chriss played big as well.