Clippers-Suns Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 19, 2012
While the Los Angeles Clippers continue their push for a Pacific Division title, the Phoenix Suns are simply trying to qualify for the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Clippers can match a season high with a sixth straight victory if they can snap a nine-game road skid to the Suns on Thursday night. Having already clinched its first playoff berth since 2006, Los Angeles (39-23) is one-half game behind its rival and the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Lakers in its quest for the franchise's first division title. Chris Paul had 21 points with eight assists and Kenyon Martin added a tip-in and blocked shot in the final half-minute of the Clippers' 104-98 win at Denver on Wednesday. "It's about winning basketball,'' said Martin, who has been a valuable reserve in 38 games for the Clippers since returning from playing in China this season. "Just never quit playing no matter what the situation is, always put yourself in a position to make plays. Just trying to get a `W.' We're fighting for playoff position. Though Los Angeles has won 13 of 15 overall and is in position to match a season high with a fourth consecutive road win, it faces a daunting challenge trying to prevail in Phoenix for the first time since a 103-99 victory April 17, 2007. A 10th consecutive road defeat to the Suns (32-30) would match the Clippers' longest current skid away from home to any opponent. Los Angeles has also dropped 10 in a row at Cleveland. The Clippers matched their second-lowest point total this season while shooting 36.8 percent during an 81-78 loss at Phoenix on March 2. However, Los Angeles snapped a four-game overall skid to the Suns with a 103-86 home win March 28. Blake Griffin had 27 points with 14 rebounds in that contest, but scored 17 on 6-of-19 shooting (31.6) and pulled down seven boards in last month's road loss to the Suns. Phoenix hopes its past home success against the Clippers will provide a means of motivation as it tries to move back into playoff position in the West. The Suns have dropped three of five to fall to ninth in the conference, one-half game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Suns look to bounce back from a 109-97 home loss to West-leading Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Jared Dudley had 21 points for Phoenix, which shot 41.0 percent, including 6 of 20 from 3-point range, while having its three-game home winning streak end. "We didn't play sharp," star guard Steve Nash said. "Hopefully, we can wash this away and go for broke (Thursday)." Dudley, who has totaled 39 points in the last two games, had 22 with seven rebounds and four assists in last month's home victory over the Clippers. Nash, who has scored 20 points over the last three games, was held to a season-low one while recording 15 assists in the road loss to Los Angeles last month. It's uncertain if Suns forward and defensive stalwart Grant Hill will miss a third straight game with a sore right knee. "He could play, but I don't want to stick him out there unless I know he's OK," coach Alvin Gentry told the Suns' official website. Phoenix is giving up 106.0 points per contest over the last five games.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The best pick from every NBA Draft
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Aroldis Chapman signs with Yankees

Le’Veon Bell thinks Giants were trying to hurt him

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for haul of impressive prospects

Looking at NFL injuries that could impact the Super Bowl chase

Report: RG3 to start Sunday barring health setback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Major changes could be coming to the World Cup in 2026

Peterson planning to return if Vikings stay in playoff hunt

Desmond’s deal with Rockies is puzzling, opens door for trades

Report: ‘Well has been poisoned’ for Lane Kiffin as USF candidate

Johnny Manziel tells Lamar Jackson not to go to Browns

NCAA president on Penn State: ‘How could you not be pleased?’

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Box Score 12/6: Klay Thompson and the ball of fire

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

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

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

Winter Meetings report, Day 1: News, notes and rumors

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

The good, bad, and ugly from NFL Week 13

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