In a reunion game of sorts, the Clippers got knocked in the mouth by a more aggressive and harder playing Phoenix Suns team.
The Clippers got run over by the high-powered Suns, 107-88, Monday night at Staples Center in a game that featured three participants facing their former teams.
But that became secondary to the Clippers easily suffering their worst beating of the season, cutting their lead over the Suns in the Pacific Division to just a half-game.
"They beat us in everything," Chris Paul said. "We can't say that we beat them in anything — fast-break points or anything. And that doesn't happen too many nights in the NBA. This was just an old-fashioned butt whuppin' and they did it from the beginning to the end."
The Clippers were down 21 at the half and by 29 in the third quarter in a game they appeared to be doomed to lose from the start, when they fell behind 9-0.
"Nine-0 is unacceptable," said Paul, who had 11 points on five-for-14 shooting, and seven assists. "It's not like we missed shots. I think the first couple of possession we didn't even get a shot."
The Clippers turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions, and missed a shot on another possession.
Blake Griffin couldn't bail out the Clippers this time. He had 15 points on five-for-15 shooting and five rebounds, and never touched the court in the fourth quarter.
Jamal Crawford had 15 points on four-for-13 shooting.
"They just hit us in the mouth early and they just dominated all the way through," Paul said.
Phoenix starting point guard Eric Bledsoe spent his first three years with the Clippers before he was traded to the Suns in a three-team, four-player deal over the summer.
Bledsoe finished with just seven points and four assists in his first game playing against his former team.
"I didn't know I was coming" to Phoenix, Bledsoe said. "I was hearing other places. But when I got the opportunity here, I was excited."
Jared Dudley played 41/2 seasons with the Suns before he was acquired by the Clippers this summer.
Dudley finished with nine points.
Clippers associate head coach Alvin Gentry coached the Suns for 31/2 seasons before he was fired by Phoenix midway through last season.
Gentry hugged several of his former Suns players before walking to the Clippers' locker room.
Goran Dragic and Gerald Green did most of the damage for the Suns.
Dragic had 20 of his 26 points in the first half on 10-for-15 shooting and Green had 21 points off the bench on eight-for-14 shooting, including five-for-10 from three-point range.
The Clippers wanted to slow down the Suns as much as possible, knowing Phoenix leads the NBA in fast-break points with 19.1 per game. However, the Suns had 18 fast-break points.
The Clippers also wanted to limit the Suns' three-point shooting as much as possible, knowing that Phoenix made the second-most three-pointers in the league with 9.6 per game.
The Suns were tied for the ninth-highest three-point shooting percentage in the league at 37.3%.
The Suns made 12 of their three-pointers out of 31 attempts. They shot 38.7% from three-point range.
"This was a tough one for us," Paul said. "It might be one of the worst ones since I've been here."
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