Rapid Reaction: Clippers 112, Suns 108
April, 2, 2014
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
PHOENIX -- Before Wednesday's game against the Phoenix Suns, Doc Rivers knew the Los Angeles Clippers were going to be challenged over the next two games.
They were facing back-to-back games against two teams fighting for their playoff lives, the Suns and the Dallas Mavericks.
"The playoffs have started for Phoenix. The playoffs have started for Dallas," Rivers said. "It's hard to get your intensity to match that."
The Clippers' intensity for much of Wednesday night's game didn't match the Suns' until they looked up at the scoreboard in the final minutes of the third quarter and found themselves down by 17 points. That's when the Clippers mounted a comeback and completed their third double-digit come-from-behind win in their past four games, 112-108, and claimed their second consecutive Pacific Division title in the process.
How it happened: The Clippers looked finished in the waning minutes of the third quarter. They were down by 17 points, Blake Griffin, playing with back spasms, could hardly move and the Clippers looked ready to fly home after their five-game trip. They then mounted a comeback and outscored the Suns 34-17 in the final quarter.
What it means: The Clippers have won their second straight division title, which is also their second in franchise history. The Clippers are also only 1.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs and are four games up, not including the tiebreaker, on the Houston Rockets for the third seed.
Hits: Griffin came back after essentially missing two games because of back spasms and had 23 points and six rebounds. Darren Collison had 23 points and five assists. Chris Paul had 20 points and nine assists, and Jared Dudley had 12 points off the bench and the game-clinching free-throws.
Misses: There were not a lot of misses after the third quarter. Even though the Clippers' bench was outscored by the Suns 42-23, it helped kick-start the team's comeback.
Stat of the game: The Clippers hit 11-of-26 from beyond the arc. The Clippers are now 33-1 this season when making at least nine 3-pointers.
Up next: The Clippers travel home to play the Mavericks, another team battling for their playoff lives. The Clippers came from behind to beat the Mavericks in Dallas last Thursday, 109-103, and a win this Thursday would give them the season series sweep.