LOS ANGELES Late Saturday morning, Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry stood outside the visiting team's locker room at Staples Center and declared the Clippers' reserves the best bench in the NBA.
"I don't think it's even close," he said.
By Saturday afternoon, Gentry and the Suns saw it firsthand. They were mowed down by a third-quarter rout at the hands of the Clippers bench, which turned a two-point lead into an 18-point win, 117-99.
Until coach Vinny Del Negro made his substitutions near the end of the third quarter, the Clippers were sputtering, unable to pull away on offense and struggling on defense. But his reserve players Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf brought a sense of energy and urgency into the game.
"We looked at each other and we said, 'Let's go,' " Turiaf said. " 'It's time to go have some fun.' "
And they did. The Clippers outscored the Suns 25-10 in the first eight minutes of the quarter to help the team to its fifth con...