Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/8/12
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 consecutive victory, one short of matching its season-best win streak. Chris Paul had 16 points and 11 assists, and Blake Griffin added 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a career-high four steals. But the bench scored 56 points and picked off 23 rebounds. Crawford had 21 points, Barnes finished with 13 and eight rebounds and Odom totaled eight points, eight rebounds and three assists. "Thank the bench because the starters were struggling," Del Negro said. "They got us off to a bad start again. I was disappointed with that. I didn't think our energy was good." The Clippers trailed by three at the end of one quarter and were behind by as many as eight points in the second, and if there was a sense they were on their way to losing to another inferior team, it was justified. The Suns came to Staples lugging a five-game losing streak, but they've also played an NBA-high six games decided by three points or less. Pushovers, they're not. Del Negro blamed his team's defensive inefficiency, pointing to the 57 points the Clippers allowed in the first half and a lack of intensity when the Suns had the ball. Was this something he would discuss with his team, someone asked. "I've already said it," he answered. "You have to point out the obvious," he added. "They know it. Talking about it is great, but you have to do it. You have to perform." That was left to the bench, which started the fourth quarter with an 85-83 lead. In a span of 3 minutes, though, the Clippers stretched it to nine: Crawford sank a 19-footer, then, after the Suns' Wesley Johnson scored, Crawford made a three-point basket and a running bank shot followed by a Bledsoe dunk. "Usually when you go to the bench, the other team thinks it can make a run," Barnes said. "But we try to come out and maintain the lead or increase the lead. So there's no letup when we go to our bench." Even Odom, who needed additional time to adjust after arriving in camp overweight and injured, is beginning to play a larger role. He played 20 minutes, 36 seconds after getting almost 24 minutes Wednesday night against Dallas. "That's the strength of our team," Odom said of the bench. "When we get contributions like that off the bench, it's always helpful. And then we have different lineups where we can change the momentum or play any style. We've got a guy who can get 20 a game in Jamal. Eric changes speed, makes plays. Defensively we stayed solid, got in the passing lines, denied them the ball, didn't give up any offensive rebounds and that helped." The Clippers now face a back-to-back challenge Sunday against the Toronto Raptors in consecutive 12:30 p.m. starting times. This season, the Clippers are 1-2 in the second game of back-to-backs. But if they struggle at the start, they know there's help on the way. "We want to put it away early," Griffin said, "but with the way our team is put together, our second team is just as capable coming in and putting that lead on teams."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

Jeremy Lin reportedly looking to trademark phrase ‘Brook-Lin’

Matt Leinart engaged to actress Josie Loren

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker