COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
(Wednesday, April 2nd)
Final Score: LA Clippers 112, Phoenix 108
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul scored 20 points, handed out nine assists and knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer down the stretch as the Los Angeles Clippers rallied for a 112-108 victory over the playoff-hopeful Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
The Clippers trailed by 17 late in the third quarter yet still came back to win their fourth straight game and clinch the Pacific Division title.
"It's nice. But it doesn't really say much. We won the division title last year and lost in the first round," Paul said.
Blake Griffin and Darren Collison both netted 23 points and Matt Barnes chipped in with 19 for LA, which doubled up Phoenix, 34-17, in the fourth.
The Suns dropped their second straight game despite eight players scoring in double figures. They fell back into a tie with Memphis and Dallas in a race for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
"They can go small, and they can go big. They have both options. That's why they're a great team," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Marcus Morris dropped a team-high 16 points, while Goran Dragic and Gerald Green went for 15 apiece.
The Clippers scored 11 of the first 15 points of the fourth quarter to pull within 95-89, closed the gap to one, 104-103, after scoring on four straight possessions and took their first lead of the second half when Jared Dudley made two free throws with 2:38 remaining.
After Eric Bledsoe answered with a floater for Phoenix, Paul beat the shot clock with a crowd-silencing 32-footer and Griffin cleaned up a Barnes miss for a 110-106 LA lead with 49.5 seconds remaining.
Bledsoe put in a quick two to make it a one-possession game again, but following two Paul misses and a jump ball that went Phoenix's way, Bledsoe was blocked by Collison with 10.9 ticks to go.
Dudley's two free throws wrapped up his 12-point night and the Clippers' comeback victory.
Despite Dragic and P.J. Tucker combining to shoot 2-of-10 from the field in the first half, the Suns went into the locker room with a 62-60 lead.
The reason was strong bench play in the second quarter, as Morris and Green scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, in the frame to erase a 30-25 deficit heading into it.
A Paul 3-pointer evened things at 69-69 2:20 into the third, but the Clippers went nearly five minutes without hitting another field goal. Phoenix's subsequent 15-2 run, highlighted by Miles Plumlee's running hook shot in the lane while being fouled, yielded the game's first double-digit cushion.
Tucker's three-point play inside the final two minutes extended the difference to 91-74, and it was 13-point margin in Phoenix's favor entering the fourth.
The Suns shot 36.6 percent from the field in the second half after making 56.8 percent in the first ... The Clippers moved within 1 1/2 games of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second seed in the Western Conference ... Griffin missed LA's previous game with a back injury ... The Clippers will play five in a row at home before finishing the season in Portland against the Trail Blazers ... LA won the season series, 3-1.
04/03 02:31:36 ET