Without their stars and their starting center, the Clippers competed with the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns for most of four quarters before finally falling, 106-89. Read on for this recap of the Clippers closer-for-longer-than-expected loss to the Suns.


A horrid offense game; Marcus Morris Sr. does what he can; Chris Paul shuts the door; missing Zubac; and more. Here’s what you need to know:

— No one could make a shot.

OK, that’s not true. Cameron Johnson could. He led the winning squad with 24 points. He was the only player to take more than 10 shots and make more than half.

Marcus Morris Sr. could too. He led all scorers with 26 points. More on him later.

It was most everyone else who couldn’t shoot. The Phoenix Suns, the team with the best record in the NBA, made good on just 41% of their field goals and fewer than a third of their three-pointers.

The Clippers made just 6 threes and 36% of their overall shot attempts and still trailed by as little as 3 in the fourth quarter. It was that kind of game.

That the Clippers remained within spitting distance for more than 40 minutes says something about the resilience of the Clippers, but it says more about the Suns’ temporary impotence. Phoenix turned it over just 9 times and heaved up 21 more field goals than the outmatched Clippers. They had chances in every quarter to run away with the game. They just couldn’t make it happen until crunch time.

And unlike the Clippers, the Suns were able to put their two best players on the floor tonight. But Chris Paul scored just 14 points on 5-for-14 shooting. (He also recorded a triple-double; we’ll cover that in a moment.) Devin Booker’s shot was crooked all night. He eked out 11 points on 22 attempts, clanking all 7 of his threes. He never looked comfortable.

Neither did the Clippers for long stretches of this one. After a surprising early lead, they went mute, once going scoreless for 10 minutes of game time. The Suns forgot how to shoot but fully remembered how to defend, even without starting center Deandre Ayton.

Mikal Bridges clamped down on Reggie Jackson and Eric Bledsoe on the perimeter. The Clippers earned just 28 points in the paint, and that was only after a relatively prolific burst in the second half. The Clippers couldn’t get to the cup and rarely reached it from the perimeter. They had few offensive answers.

— Marcus Morris Sr. was one of those answers. In fact, for three quarters, he looked like the only answer. The Clippers’ offense consisted of running into walls before throwing it to Morris for a contested jumper.

Thankfully, Morris delivered, bailing out the Clippers on a number of possessions. He also boosted his game-high in scoring with 7 free throws made on 7 attempts. Without the stalwart Jae Crowder, the Suns struggled with Morris’ physicality. Morris did his part.

— It took a while, but Chris Paul finally restored order. After the Suns squandered countless opportunities to force the Clippers into an early capitulation, Paul locked in for a trademark fourth quarter.

The Point God recorded 5 of his 10 assists in the final frame, circumventing his team’s errant touch by finding opportunistic cutters. He also added 4 rebounds down the stretch, 2 on the offensive end, sealing Clippers’ possessions while extending his own. Paul didn’t submit a wire-to-wire masterwork but a a specific and timely one.

— Sure, we would love to have had Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available for this one, but with both out with long- and medium-term injuries respectively, rueing their absence seems futile.

Ivica Zubac’s COVID-induced absence was the frustrating one. With their starting center healthy and available, the Clippers might actually have reached, and crested, the summit.

First, Zubac could’ve done something about the defensive boards. The Suns pulled down 21 rebounds on the Clippers’ glass. Jalen Smith, starting for the missing Ayton, grabbed 8 of them. When the Suns are missing, you don’t want to give them a chance to shoot again.

Second, he might’ve been a factor on the Suns’ glass. The Clippers needed every offensive tool they could muster. They managed a respectable 8 offensive rebounds, but against a smaller-than-usual Suns squad, it’s easy to think big Zu could’ve had a hearty meal.

–Brandon Boston Jr. may have been the Clippers’ second-most reliable shot creator. He scored 10 in 20 minutes. He finds that midrange jumper almost every time he wants it.

Amir Coffey scored just 8 but his 27 minutes earned illustrate his impact. The Clippers finally unlocked some transition chances as they closed the gap in the early fourth, and it was mostly Coffey finishing them.

Justise Winslow put in good work too. Ignore his empty scoring numbers. He was serviceable as the last line of defense and his playmaking was valuable.

Nic Batum returned tonight and helped steady the reserve unit. The bench’s play was a big reason there were only two real minutes of garbage time. The game was close to being over in both the second and third quarters.

Thanks for reading this game recap of the Clippers’ loss to the Suns. Stay on the lookout for more game coverage and analysis and an episode of TLTJTP soon.

213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.

Thomas Wood

Thomas Wood

Writing about the Clippers since 2014 and also since 2019.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments