As could be expected, without three of their starters for much of the night, the Clippers fell to the Phoenix Suns, 118-104, on Thursday in a game that was much more lopsided than the final score reflects.
The Clippers were missing Chris Paul (strained groin), J.J. Redick (back spasms) and Blake Griffin, who was ejected in the second quarter after he complained about a non-call, drawing his second technical of the game.
Those three entered Thursday's game averaging a combined 58.1 points a game.
The Suns pushed their lead to 25 points in the fourth quarter, dealing the Clippers their second loss in a row and their fourth in the last five games.
How big of a difference does having Griffin on the court make? Before the All-Star power forward was ejected, the Clippers were down by one point, 49-48, with 2 minutes 37 seconds left in the second quarter. By halftime, the Suns had pushed their lead to 12 points. Entering the fourth quarter, they were up by 20 points.
To add insult to injury, the Suns beat the Clippers by double digits despite committing 21 turnovers.
The Suns, however, outrebounded the Clippers, 46-37, outshot them from the field, 53% to 44.4%, and made five more three-pointers, 14 to nine.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers, who played every reserve, with 18 points, though he also committed five turnovers. None of the Clippers starters scored more than 11 points.
Phoenix guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe combined for 63 points, Knight matching his career high with 37 . Bledsoe nearly finished with a triple-double, grabbing 10 rebounds and getting nine assists.
The Clippers (5-4) have a day off before hosting the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., their first afternoon game of the season.