Clippers seek consistency vs. Suns
There’s reason for optimism for the Los Angeles Clippers, who are in third place in the Western Conference and ended a three-game losing streak with Monday’s 127-94 rout of the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.
Star forward Paul George and high-energy guard Patrick Beverley returned from injuries, and newly added Marcus Morris Sr. seems to fit right into the Clippers’ rotation.
That’s in addition to Kawhi Leonard and Montrezl Harrell, who’ll lead Los Angeles against the host Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
The Clippers have played only five games this season with a full roster available, and one of those was on Monday.
Coach Doc Rivers was asked if his team can “flip the switch” in going from losing streak to championship level play.
“I don’t think we are a flip-the-switch team,” Rivers told ESPN. “I would say anyone who says that doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Because flip-the-switch teams are teams that have been healthy all year and just have chosen not to play.”
The additions of Morris and guard Reggie Jackson give the Clippers seven players who average double-figure scoring, led by Leonard at 27.2. Los Angeles is 18-7 when both Leonard and George are in the lineup.
“This is what we talked about, this is what we dreamed of when this all came together,” George told the Orange County Register. “This is the squad and the team that we thought we would be. Just with us being a new team, we’ve got to have consistency with games like this, where we come out and we look to dominate and be the aggressors and we look to put teams away early and put our imprint on the game.”
The Clippers and their stacked roster will get that opportunity against the Suns, who are 10 games under .500. But Phoenix has won three of four, including a 131-111 victory at the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Point guard Ricky Rubio had 22 points, 11 assists and seven steals against his former team. Devin Booker, who earlier Monday attended the memorial service in Los Angeles for the late Kobe Bryant, flew to Salt Lake City for the game and added 24 points and 10 assists.
Rubio is new to the Suns this season after coming over from the Jazz.
“That’s a tough game coming back here to play against your former team with so many emotions going through his mind. He dominated the game,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams told the Arizona Republic.
The Suns are trying to get back into contention for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The game against the Clippers is the first of six straight at home.
“I think once we got the lead we kept building on it. We haven’t done that a lot this year,” Booker said after the Utah win. “When we get up 10 or 15 points, that is usually a turning point in the wrong way for us but we just kept going, kept battling and kept responding to any push that they made.”
-Field Level Media