The Clippers didn't overlook the Suns during their first meeting last December at Staples Center, but Los Angeles was surprised at just how good Phoenix was.
The Clippers, who play the Suns on Tuesday night in Phoenix, recalled what happened during that 19-point loss to the Suns.
"They killed us," Blake Griffin said after practice Monday. "They dominated almost every aspect. They got all the '50-50' balls. Offensive rebounds. Ran on us. Hit threes. Everything."
The Suns scored 107 points on the Clippers in that game and they shot 12 for 31 (38.7%) from three-point range. They also had 18 fastbreak points, 44 points in the paint, mostly on drives to the basket, and they blocked nine shots.
Point guard Goran Dragic dropped 32 points on the Clippers and handed out eight assists.
"Goran Dragic can create for a lot of guys," Griffin said. "They've got guys that can create for themselves, guys that can score, play one-on-one basketball. So we have to do a really good job of being tight. We have to get back in transition and slow them down."
The Suns' will test the Clippers' defense because Phoenix averages 105.3 points per game, the fifth-most in the league.
Phoenix also attempts the second-most three-point shots in the NBA (25.1 per game) and the Suns make 37.2% of their three-pointers, the ninth-best in the league.
"For us, we've got to leave that bad experience they gave us in our first rodeo … we play against them [Tuesday]," guard Darren Collison said. "We're going to be looking forward to revenge. But at the same time, we're going to be focusing on ourselves and try to get better."
It's the wild west
Seemingly every game in the Western Conference counts for something.
Before Monday's games, the Clippers were in the fourth spot in the West, just behind the Portland Trail Blazers and just ahead of the fifth-seeded Houston Rockets.
The Clippers have defeated the Rockets three times this season and own the tiebreaker. The Clippers also lead the Pacific Division, with a 41/2-game lead over the second-place Golden State Warriors and a five-game lead over the Suns.
"If you lose two games, three games, you can drop in the standings real fast," Collison said. "I think every team in the West understands that. So it makes it a little more competitive. It's exciting. It's fun to be a part of."
Coach Doc Rivers said that newly acquired small forward Danny Granger, who didn't play Saturday night because of a clerical error that forced him to be on the inactive list, will play against the Suns. ... Jamal Crawford is sidelined because of a strained left calf and J.J. Redick is out because of a bulging disk in his lower back.
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