It hasn't always been easy in the first three games of the season for the Los Angeles Clippers. At times they have struggled to get the ball through the hoop, and other times, the Clippers have not done a very good job on the defensive side of the ball.
Yet, here they are at 3-0, having just defeated the Phoenix Suns on Halloween night, winning 116-98. The Suns kept things close in the opening half of the ball game, but the Clippers bench took over after the break to pull away.
Clippers starters make things easy
Four of the five starters for the Los Angeles Clippers finished with double digits while Chris Paul, 24, and Blake Griffin, 21, were the only two players that scored more than 20. The only member of the starting five that did not score 10 or more points was Luc Mbah a Moute, but he is not much of a scorer to begin with.
The pace of the game started out quick. Los Angeles scored the opening two points, but Phoenix rattled off five unanswered points, thanks to Brandon Knight. Both sides continued to exchanges leads throughout the first few minutes.
However, near the halfway mark of the first, the Clippers started to pull away for the first time. After Griffin made both free throws, DeAndre Jordan finished off a high-percentage shot to give his side a 12-9 advantage. Then, Griffin showed off his new found range from beyond the arc to drill a three pointer. At the end of the first 12 minutes, however, the quarter ended as the game began with both sides even in points, this time at 26.
It was in the second quarter where the Clippers really began to dominate. Phoenix’s second unit could not keep up with the Clippers throughout the entirety of their time on the court. They did take a lead with Marquese Chriss, PJ Tucker for a short while. But as the half came to a close, the Clippers grew their lead, first to 11 points, then to 12 when the horn blew for the end of the half.
Pulling away in the second half
The Suns did not get their first points of the second half until the 9:49 mark when T.J. Warren finished a layup. Knight continued to make an impact for Phoenix as he drilled a deep shot to cut the Clippers lead to just four; Bledsoe finished off a three point play to bring the Suns within three. That’s as close as they got all for the remainder of the game.
With a little more than six minutes remaining in the game, the Clippers eclipsed the 100 point mark while Phoenix still had just gotten to 85 points. Soon after, Doc Rivers pulled the starters from the game and gave his non-starters some playing time. Austin Rivers got involved in offense along with Wesley Johnson.
This win will feel good for the Clippers. They struggled at times in the opening two games but still managed to find ways to win. On Monday night, the Clippers looked sharp from the beginning and blew out a Suns team that is certainly on the rise despite their poor record.
The hardest test this season comes on Wednesday for the Los Angeles Clippers. There, they welcome in Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meanwhile, the young Phoenix Suns have had a tough schedule to begin the new season. Their schedule, unfortunately, does not ease up as the Suns travel to face off against the Portland Trail Blazers.