It was more like a “throwback night” at Staples Center for the Los Angeles Clippers.
And if you remember those old Clipper teams that drifted aimlessly in NBA oblivion, this isn’t what a sellout crowd of 19,278 was hoping for to end 2013.
The Clippers opened the game with three turnovers in their first four possessions falling behind the resurgent Phoenix Suns 9-0 who went on to roast Los Angeles, 107-88.
With the win Phoenix (19-11) is now just a half-game behind the Clippers for the top spot in the pacific division.
The Clippers (21-12) did make a run midway through the first quarter jumping ahead 14-13 on two Blake Griffin free throws. But that was it.
Phoenix led 30-24 after the first quarter, 61-40 at the half and led by as many as 28 in the second half.
“It’s one of those nights.” Said Phoenix first-year coach Jeff Hornacek. “They had a bad night and we played pretty well.”
It certainly was one of those nights. Although the Clippers had five guys in double figures they came mostly in garbage time which was three-quarters of the game. L.A. hit only 35% from the field.
“We were awful.” Said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. He added, “Give them credit though. I thought they were so much tougher than us.”
Forward Blake Griffin only scored 15 points after averaging over 30 in the previous five games. Jamal Crawford also had 15 and Matt Barnes poured in 13.
To hear more Clippers postgame comments, click on the video with this story.
Tonight’s game marked the return of former Clipper Eric Bledsoe who only scored seven points for the Suns but played stellar defense against his ex-mate Chris Paul holding him to 11. Darren Collison also had 11 for Los Angeles.
The Suns blistered the nets from three point range hitting 12 of 31 from behind the arc for 39%.
Goran Dragic led Phoenix with 26 points. Forward Channing Frye had 12 with all his points coming from the three-point line. Gerald Green hit five of 10 from the arc and finished with 21.
The Suns have a couple of days off for the new year before hosting Memphis on Thursday.
The Clippers hope to ring in the new year with a win on New Year’s Day when they host the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center.