|2015-16 NBA Regular Season|
|February 22, 2016 — 7:30 PM PT|
|Prime Ticket, The Beast 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM|
|Win-Loss Breakdown ('15-'16)|
|P.J. Tucker||SF||Luc Mbah a Moute
|Efficiency Stats ('14-'15)|
|98.0 (4th)||Pace||96.1 (11tj)|
|102.4 (27th)||OffRtg||108.1 (6th)|
|109.0 (28th)||DefRtg||103.9 (8th)|
|-6.68 (27th)||NetRtg||4.21 (6th)|
|Tyson Chandler (Shoulder) Questionable, Brandon Knight (Groin) Out,
(Foot) Out for Season, Eric Bledsoe (Knee) Out for Season||
Chris Paul (Thigh) Game Time Decision, Austin Rivers (Hand) Out, Blake Griffin (Hand) Out
Season Series (Series tied, 1-1):
The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Phoenix Suns by a score of 102-96 in their first meeting of the season, which took place at Staples Center on November 2, 2015. It was a very different story just ten days later on November 12, 2015. In that game in Phoenix, the Clippers were soundly beaten, 118-104. That was the Clippers' fourth loss in five games (after starting the season 4-0). The Clippers were not sharp, and Blake Griffin was ejected after receiving his second technical foul of the game late in the second quarter. The team fell apart after his ejection. Since that game, the Clippers have endured their share of drama with Griffin's controversial hand injury, but they have retained their status as a quality playoff team in the Western Conference. In contrast, the Suns now have the second-worst record in the West and have experienced no end of injuries and organizational turmoil. The Suns have lost eleven games in a row, but they did put up a fight against the yesterday, losing by a relatively close score of 118-111. Simply put, this is a game that the Clippers should win at home.
The Big Picture:
As everyone knows, the Clippers have not had Griffin in the lineup since Christmas Day. However, they have kept the ship afloat in his absence, going 19-6 without their All-Star and All-NBA power forward. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick have elevated their respective games in January and February, and DeAndre Jordan has played quite well since losing his usual partner in the front court. In their most recent game, the Clippers suffered a particularly demoralizing loss at home against the dominant. The Clippers went on a 13-0 run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but sophomore guard missed the game-tying three-pointer. Paul also suffered a thigh injury and is a game-time decision tonight.
This game will also be newly-acquired forward Jeff Green's second with his new ball club. As a reminder, the Clippers received Green from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Lance Stephenson and a protected first round draft pick. Understandably, Green did not look great in his first outing with the Clippers, scoring just 5 points in 20 minutes (2 of 7 from the field). He did show some nice energy, but he needs some time to develop chemistry with his new teammates. If Green can quickly become a consistent contributor, the odds seem high that Coach Doc Rivers will insert him into the starting lineup for, who has mostly been a huge liability on both ends of the court this season.
This has been a miserable year for the Suns. Although they were close to playoff contention the previous two seasons, they are currently the third worst team in the NBA. In the Western Conference, only thehave a worse record. This team has battled devastating injuries all season. They lost guard (ex-Clipper) Eric Bledsoe and forward T.J. Warren to season-ending injuries, and those are two very productive players. The organization also had to grapple with disgruntled forward Markieff Morris until the recent trade deadline, at which point they sent him to the in exchange for , , and a first-round pick. Not to mention, the Suns fired Head Coach Jeff Hornacek earlier this month.
It is too bad that Bledsoe is injured, as the Paul versus Bledsoe duel is always a fun one. Paul was a mentor to Bledsoe during the latter's time as a Clipper. Brandon Knight is also not going to play, so the point guard competition is underwhelming. Perhaps the most intriguing matchup is between Redick and rookie Devin Booker, as both shooting guards competed in the most recent three-point shootout during All-Star Weekend. Booker is shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc and averages 10.6 points per game, while Redick is making 47.7% of his three-pointers and averages 16.4 points per game.