Clippers can’t break streak
Only one shopping day left until the trading deadline, and it seems the Clippers are still in need of major repairs.
Four days off at the All-Star break apparently didn’t do much to help the Clippers, and it was unclear whether anything would have made a difference Tuesday night in a 115-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns in front of a sellout crowd of 19,898 at Staples Center.
The Clippers (25-29) were consistent in resuming their schedule against the formidable Suns, playing as poorly after the break as they did in their first 53 games.
They trailed by 17 points at halftime and 26 in the fourth quarter, losing their fourth in a row.
And the Clippers shouldn’t expect outside help before Thursday’s noon trading deadline.
There are no deals close to being finalized that would provide a big boost, many in the organization said, so the Clippers must do more with what they have.
“I don’t see us making any deals,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “I don’t see anything on the horizon.”
The players understand the situation, co-captain Elton Brand said.
“We can’t wait for other teams to lose,” said Brand, who scored 17 points. “We have to take it upon ourselves to go out there and win, which we’re not doing.”
The Clippers were without Chris Kaman (flu-like symptoms) and Cuttino Mobley (groin injury).
Defense has been the Clippers’ biggest problem in their latest poor stretch, and they flopped in that area against the Suns, who shot 53.6% from the field while scoring often on layups, dunks and short jump shots. The Suns’ shots from long range were rarely contested.
Phoenix (40-13) welcomed back superstar point guard Steve Nash, who was sidelined the last four games because of shoulder inflammation.
Nash had a 13-point, 12-assist performance in only 27 minutes in helping the Pacific Division leaders end a losing streak at three games.
Shawn Marion led the Suns with 31 points and Amare Stoudemire contributed 22 points.
There was some good news for the Clippers.
The teams competing with the Clippers for the Western Conference’s last playoff berth also lost Tuesday, and the Clippers still trail the Minnesota Timberwolves by half a game for the eighth spot.
The other encouraging development for Clippers fans?
Well, they won’t play again until facing the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at Staples Center, and presumably they can’t lose if they don’t play.
Meanwhile, in a bookkeeping move, the Clippers suspended veteran swingman Doug Christie.
Christie, in a letter sent to the team during the All-Star break, declined to complete his second 10-day contract, which would have expired after Tuesday’s game.
The move was retroactive to the Feb. 16, the date the team received the letter.
KEYS TO THE GAME
* Steve Nash arrived at Staples Center. The Clippers were finished when the Suns’ incomparable point guard stepped on the court.
* Apparently, time off didn’t help the Clippers on defense. The Suns scored often on layups, dunks and short jumpers. Most of their long-range shots were uncontested.
* The Clippers were short-handed inside because Chris Kaman sat out (flu-like symptoms).
-- JASON REID