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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 1st (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Clippers (29-46) at Phoenix Suns (36-38), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns only have themselves to blame if they miss out on the playoffs for just the fourth time since the 1988-89 season.

Phoenix looks to keep its slim postseason hopes alive tonight versus the Los Angeles Clippers at US Airways Center. The Suns have lost three straight and eight of the last 11 games to fall 5 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with eight games to go.

The losing ways continued for the Suns with Wednesday's 116-98 loss versus the Oklahoma City Thunder in the desert, as Vince Carter scored 28 points and Jared Dudley added 16 for Phoenix, which was outscored by a 37-25 margin in the final stanza.

"It's a 48-minute game, not 36, so we have to find a way to play the last 12 minutes," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said after his team surrendered 37 points in the fourth quarter.

The Suns are winless in their last three home games and 20-18 as the host.

Meanwhile, the Clippers haven't been to the playoffs since 2005-06 and that trend will continue for a fifth consecutive campaign.

Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses over its previous seven games and suffered a 106-100 loss versus Dallas the last time out on Wednesday. Blake Griffin finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost nine straight against the Mavericks. Griffin also set the franchise rookie record for most points in a season in the process and posted his 57th double-double of the season.

"They're one of the best teams for a reason," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have to learn how to handle the referees. At times we get caught up with the referees and it takes us out of our game."

Mo Williams had 19 points and five assists before being ejected in the fourth quarter while Eric Gordon scored 15 in defeat. Williams was tossed for receiving back-to-back technical fouls in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers are a lowly 8-28 as the visitor this season.

Phoenix has won two of the first three matchups with Los Angeles this season and is 14-3 in the past 17 meetings between the teams. The Clippers have lost seven straight, eight of nine and 11 of their last 13 trips to the desert.

04/01 10:56:26 ET

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