Clippers Vs. Suns Official Game Thread 2013-12-30

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clipper*joe
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Suns-Clippers Preview

By BRETT HUSTON

Posted Dec 29 2013 6:16PM

The presence of Chris Paul made the talented Eric Bledsoe expendable in the Clippers' backcourt, though a deal to ship him out of Los Angeles wasn't without its obstacles.

The Phoenix Suns are certainly glad it didn't fall apart.

The Suns have been the NBA's biggest surprise thus far largely thanks to Bledsoe, who returns to Staples Center to face his former team for the first time Monday night in a showdown between the Pacific Division's top two teams.

Bledsoe went to the Clippers in a 2010 draft-day trade after being taken by Oklahoma City, and he showed flashes of stardom as an occasional starter as a rookie and the last two seasons as Paul's backup.

But when Paul agreed to a five-year, $107 million extension and the team looking for shooters after Doc Rivers was brought aboard, Los Angeles (21-11) dealt Bledsoe to Phoenix in a three-team deal while landing J.J. Redick and former Sun Jared Dudley.

The trade almost didn't go through, as it was reported that Clippers owner Donald Sterling, long a fan of Bledsoe, nearly vetoed the deal. But Sterling changed his mind, the trade went through and the Suns (18-11) have turned into a surprise contender.

Phoenix has won nine of 11 after Saturday's 115-101 victory over Philadelphia, and Bledsoe is leading the way for a Suns team that leads the league with 19.1 fast-break points per game. He's averaging 18.4 points, 5.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals - one of just four players in the league to hit those marks.

Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Paul are the others.

"Man, I'm excited," Paul said of facing his former teammate. "I text Bled all the time, even now during the season when I'm watching him play on League Pass. ... It's gonna be fun. Bled is unbelievable right now. He's better now than he was last year, playing with a lot of confidence, so we're gonna compete."

Paul is playing at an incredible high level of late. After totaling 60 points, 27 assists and eight steals in back-to-back losses at Golden State and Portland, he finished an assist shy of a triple-double and had five steals in Saturday's 98-90 win over Utah.

All he wanted to talk about after the victory, though, was Blake Griffin. The Clippers' power forward had 40 points and 10 rebounds against the Jazz and has averaged 30.2 points on 55.0 percent shooting in his last five games.

"I looked at the stat sheet after the game and I said, `Wow, he had 40.' I think his confidence right now is pretty high, and rightfully so," Paul said. "It's great to see how he's dominated games, whether he's taking jump shots, posting up or going to the free throw line. It's fun to watch. I wouldn't know how to guard him."

Griffin was held to a total of 21 points and 13 boards in the Clippers' last two games against the Suns last season, including a 93-88 loss in Phoenix on Jan. 24 that Paul missed with a bruised knee.

Goran Dragic took advantage of Paul's absence, going for a game-high 24 points and eight assists, and along with Bledsoe this season, has been an instrumental part of Phoenix's success. The Suns are 7-2 when Dragic, who's averaging 18.1 points, scores 20 or more.

Like Paul, Dragic wanted to talk about one of his big men after Saturday's win. Miles Plumlee had a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds two games after going for 17 and 20 in a victory over the Lakers.

"He's a pretty skilled big guy. He protects our rim, and he's a great rebounder," Dragic said. "Without him, we're struggling. He's a huge part of this team. If he plays like this every game, it will be tough to beat us."

http://www.nba.com/games/20131230/PHXLA ... tml?ls=slt

jarca
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Let's destroy them for suckering us to take dudley

ClipperKyle32
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I feel like a proud dad! Seeing my son go off and have a family of his own ( Suns ) and doing well ( could make playoffs )! Great Wife - Suns, Great House - Above .500 and Great Kids - Now averaging 18 6 and 4! Now my son is returning home and it makes me sad because you wish he could stay but he is doing so well without you!

That is how I feel about Eric Bledsoe! You wish he could have stayed but now he is doing so well! He looks like Chris Paul out there now making big shots and assisting! I AM JUST FILLED WITH EXCITEMENT FOR ERIC BLEDSOE!!!! I hope he does well against us but I want Chris to put him in his place and just dominate him like Chris has done these past games! Well Wishes to Bled! Maybe our Son returns home sometime! You never know! Just a dad happy for his son but sad that he is gone

Voyeur
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One hopes Dudley will pull out a great game against his old team.

tense2
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Hopefully Jamal will have a good game too.

WinningBasket
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Looking forward to seeing Bled. I wish he were still on our team, but I'm glad he is having a great year so far with the Suns. I hope he does well against us, but not enough to get a win, lol. CP needs to dominate his former student and do the usual CP stuff. And Dudley, would you please find your stroke and get some points against your old team, please?

david
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Not gonna have high hope, but hopefully his knee is feeling good this game. As long as he gets more than one basket & one rebound, it would be nice, lol.

ClippersDA
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Dudley's knee is not the reason why he sucks. Even he says he is at least 85 percent and doc doesn't know why he is playing badly. He's just not a good player.

CP3Heliflopter
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The apprentice vs the master should be an intersting matchup.

Laak
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Man i miss Bled, Collison's just atrocious. Still remember the 10' playoffs where he was the only player the Spurs couldn't defend.

CapsNClips
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Collison has been pretty good for us lately.

Silasie
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Atrocious? Not recently!

ClipperKyle32
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@Clippers_RealGM: #Clippers Leaders in PER: Chris Paul 28.0 | Blake Griffin 21.7 | J.J. Redick 18.1 -- Stats: http://t.co/De4Zvd8quE

THAT SHOWS HOM IMPORTANT JJ IS WHEN HE IS ON THE FLOOR

jonchilly17
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Eric Bledsoe was my favorite Clipper and I was sad we traded him, but I knew he had to flourish somewhere else. With that said I hope we demolish the Suns!

Heediot
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Collison plays better without Jamal. Both those guys need the ball to be effective.

LobAngelesBlakers
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I am thinking EBled is gonna try and prove a point tonight. It's gonna be his "I have my own team now, check me out" type game. I, personally, am a little worried. Then another part of me thinks that we will come out strong and put them to bed early.

IDK, I am predicting a blow out either way, I just hope its in our favor

A_DOG_NAMED_BUD
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I agree that EBled is going to come out looking to impress his old team, but you have to remember that CP3 has been taking these young-talented PGs to school recently. Wall, Lawson, Curry, and Lillard. I predict CP3 continues to prove why he's still the top point guard in the NBA.

ClippersDA
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The shouldn't we trade one? Bledsoe is definitely ball dominant and he played just fine with Crawford.

Laak
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His individual numbers are pretty good recently, but Collison isn't playing like a PG. As a PG, you direct plays and make the second unit better. From what I see from collison, it's mostly dribble down the court, pick n roll or whatever called play goes unsuccessful, then give the ball to Jamal.

FightOnRon
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Bled may try but we have to remember he probably isn't holding a huge grudge like our other Eric probably does. Ebled got what he wanted, to be a starter. He doesn't have to be 2nd string anymore.

That said,I can't even guess how this will go. What I do know is we may wake up tomorrow with a nice cushion as we leave 2013 in 1st,or,we could barely be in first going into 2014. Not that it makes a whole heck of a lot of any difference at this point in the season.

kjavis
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Na i would say DC is the best performing bench player since JC been a starter

ebled is a definite talent will be fun to watch him go against CP tonight

tense2
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Clippers -7.5....hmmm This should be a very good game between 2 teams that are close offensively with the Clippers are a tad better on defense. Both teams should score over a 100 points. Either way, hopefully we score more then them.

ClipperPostman
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I don't think anyone expected PHX to be 18-11 at this point.

Not even PHX did. Too bad they won't make the playoffs.

I can see Twolves leap frogging and getting into the playoffs.

But def glad to see Ebled be successful.

TheBlakeShow
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This is one of those games where I wish EBled has his best game ever but also hope he loses. Nice to see him back in Staples even if it means he has to guard CP.

CP3Heliflopter
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I wouldn't count the Suns out. They are a very good team. Bledsoe and Dragic are low level all stars. Frye is a decent SF(what Dudley should have been for us). Plumlee is a decent center. The Morris brothers are actually good role players. Gerald Green is a solid role player.

They actually have more consistent/better role players than we do.

The Wolves have a fairly weak bench and they have an iffy frontcourt defensively(Love needs someone like DJ to play with him, Pek isn't a defensive anchor). Brewer is a very weak starter that can't shoot and Rubio can't shoot either which also leads to serious problems offensively.

ClippersDA
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I'm going to this game, and I think it is going to be very bittersweet seeing Bledsoe on another team. More bitter than sweet. I really miss having him on the team. It sucks that he isn't "our" guy anymore.

tense2
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Expectations aside, I wouldn't bet on them (and I won't) not making the PO's, they're much better then you think.

Laak
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The entire west Conference is stacked. IMO, all the teams other than Lakers / Jazz have enough talent to make playoffs. If you put the Jazz or Kings in the East, I think they'd actually be the 4th seed lol.

JahvonTheClip
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What kind of sloppy **** is this!?

CP3Heliflopter
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WOW SLOPPY AS HELL!

jarca
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Wth.....

ClippersDA
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They are just toying with us I have no idea what is going on.

WinningBasket
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Welp. 9-0 Suns. Clippers were lackadaisical in their passes. Sheesh.

david
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Horrid start- just like that, 9-zip Suns. One of the teams need to wake up.

JahvonTheClip
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Why doesn't chris have the ball in his hands. This crap wouldn't have happened with him

Laak
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Time to wake up everyone...

ClipperDodger1214
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What an awful start. Inexcusable to come out like that.

ClippersDA
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Suns are legit.

kjavis
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wow just wow

Icecoldclipper
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That was some lazy ass pick and roll D DJ and weak passes by the team overall.

JahvonTheClip
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Let him land goran!

wessleejr
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anybody knows if there is live stream of this game?

david
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Wow talk about bailout- is that the Clippers' first FG attempt? 2 missed FT out of 3 by Jamal, SMH.

Icecoldclipper
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that was lucky as hell

david
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Dudley and 1- thank you! Nasty block by E-Bled on Blake there.

CP3Heliflopter
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Crawford with 2 missed fts wtf.

renshaibob
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Think i like the Suns, their fast

david
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They're turning the corner way too easily. CP FT jumper for 2!

JahvonTheClip
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These ft's are killing us!

CP3Heliflopter
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Yikes bad free throw shooting from our team so far.

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