Talk about one of the most incredible games and endings I have ever seen, the Clippers pulled one out of the bag to defeat the tough Phoenix Suns in a thriller at the Staples Center on December 8th, 2014. The Clippers took control early and it looked like it may turn into a blow out by the third quarter when they went up by double digits but Phoenix came back and took the lead. That was until the final shot of the game as Blake Griffin (who scored 45 points including 15-17 from the free throw line) made an improbable step back three pointer at the buzzer that nicked the front of the rim, popped up and fell in as time expired in overtime.
Chris Paul had a good game with 20 points and 10 assists but the bench and some iffy calls by the refs kept the Suns around. The one call that turned the game around was Jamal Crawford getting ejected by ref Mark Lindsay for the first time in his career when he complained about a call and got a single technical. I don’t know what he said but it didn’t seem to warrant getting thrown out. That left LA short-handed off the bench and Phoenix took advantage of that despite not having one of their top players off of their bench (Isaiah Thomas Jr, who was out with an ankle injury). JJ Reddick added 17 points and DeAndre Jordon was huge with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 4 big blocks saving some key points including rejecting Alex Len attempted dunk and Miles Plumlee for a close shot.
Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and the Markieff Morris were pretty hot throughout as they added 27, 17 and 21 points respectively. Bledsoe also had a triple-double with 16 assists and 11 rebounds. They had a well balanced attack with Marcus Morris, Gerald Green, Alex Len and Anthony Tolliver all contributing big shots. The game was a battle as the pesky visitors would not go away. After the game, Bledsoe said he was mad they didn’t get the win as stats don’t mean anything as it is a team game. He also said Blake is a great player and that is what great players do coming up big and he is doing a hell of a job.
LA moved to 15-5 with the win but still look like they will need something extra when it comes playoff time to beat some of the other top Western Division teams especially off the bench. Their key bench players such as Spencer Hawes, Jordan Farmar (who didn’t play due to back spasms), Hedo Turkoglu and Big Baby Davis have not been as productive as hoped. Hawes and Turkoglu had (minus 15 and minus 11) plus/minus while they were on the floor. While the Clippers were overjoyed, the Suns were heart-broken after this loss but they will get over it. Both teams had a lot of praise for each other. PJ Tucker tried to get under Blake Griffin’s skin but in the end, got the worst of it. He got an offensive foul for head bumping Blake in the 4th quarter as he was taunting him. Blake kept his cool but had plenty to say to Tucker yelling at him after his game winning shot over him to get the last laugh. Coach Doc Rivers said this win was better than all of their previous 5 wins with that way it happened and they clearly could have lost it. He also said he was very surprised of Crawford’s ejection as not only is he a very soft-spoken all around nice guy but there was a lot of complaining by many players and coaches throughout the game. Griffin said it was the craziest ejection he has ever seen and Crawford didn’t stay around after the game to talk to the media. The great Dr. J, Julius Irving, attended the game as did Clippers new Owner Steve Ballmer, of course adding his high-energy support.
Up next is another road trip at Indiana on Wednesday December 10th. More at www.laclippers.com