With the shot clock winding down and the Phoenix Suns hot on the comeback trail, Clipper point guard Jeff McInnis knew what he had to do. After being passive on offense in the first half, McInnis was the Clippers' top scorer after halftime and he wasn't going to stop shooting at a key moment in the fourth quarter.
With Coach Alvin Gentry yelling from the bench to shoot, McInnis knocked down his second three-point basket of the game to help the Clippers hold off the Suns' rally with six minutes left as they went on to end a 12-game losing streak to Phoenix with a 98-88 victory at America West Arena.
McInnis was the team's main man in the second half as he scored 21 of his 24 points and helped slow the Suns' Jason Kidd in crunch time.
"I was getting my teammates involved earlier in the game," said McInnis, who made eight of 13 shots and had seven assists and five rebounds. "I just sacrificed my offensive game for the team. In the second half, I felt like they kind of relaxed and forgot about me. I was able to use my height over [Phoenix six-foot guard] Elliot Perry a couple of times."
"I told Jeff that he had to stay aggressive because [Phoenix guards] play the passing lane and are all over the floor," Gentry said. "But when they do that, they have a tendency to roam on defense. So we told Jeff he had to be willing to take the shot."
Center Michael Olowokandi and Corey Maggette did not have great games statistically against Phoenix, but they made key contributions.
Olowokandi finished with nine points and 10 rebounds but it was his solid first quarter and late rebounding that helped the Clippers win for the first time at Phoenix in almost four years.
Maggette had only two points in five minutes but he was able to get the Suns' Shawn Marion, who did not score, into foul trouble.
"Michael was very aggressive and I thought he was a key on the boards down the stretch," Gentry said. "And, Corey played only five minutes for us but a couple of things he did were real important. He drove the ball at [Marion] and got two quick fouls on him. . . . After that, Shawn was never into the game."