Marion boosts Suns past Clippers
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Shawn Marion poured in 32 points and pulled
down 19 rebounds, as the Suns held on for a 94-91 win over the Los Angeles
Clippers in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Tim Thomas had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix, which took a 2-1 lead in
the best-of-seven series. The Suns did a much better job on the glass than in
Game 2 when they were dominated, 57-26. On Friday, the they were outrebounded
by a scant 47-46 margin and won despite shooting 37.2 percent from the field.
“We played great tonight,” Marion said. “I thought our energy was there. Even
though we didn’t score 100 points. we were still active on the defensive end.”
Steve Nash had a slow start with just two points at halftime, but finished
with 12 points and 10 assists, and hit a huge jumper with 3.6 seconds
remaining in the final quarter.
“Sometimes in games when you struggle you really just hope you get a last
chance to make up for a poor performance or a game that is sub-par,” Nash
said. “I was just happy to get an opportunity, just to do a little something
for my guys because they did a lot for me.”
Elton Brand had 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Clippers,
who couldn’t retain momentum following a 25-point victory at Phoenix on
Wednesday. Vladimir Radmanovic tallied 18 points, 14 in the fourth, but missed
a potential tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
“We let that one get away, but they stepped up and took it,” Brand said. “We
got into foul trouble again, similar to Game 1. Every loose ball that you
bumped them or hit them, they were marching to the line, and they’re the best
free throw shooting team in the NBA and that really hurt us.”
The Suns missed just three of their 26 foul shots.
Game 4 of the series is Sunday at the Staples Center.
Radmanovic’s three-pointer gave the Clippers a 77-76 lead, and he followed
that with another bucket inside of seven minutes to cap a 16-4 run to start
the fourth period.
The Suns, who ended 7-of-27 from three-point range, had missed 15 consecutive
shots beyond the arc until Marion made one from the right corner to tie the
contest at 85 with just under three minutes left.
Two free throws by Nash and two more by Thomas gave the Suns an 89-86 edge
with just 2:04 left.
Sam Cassell missed a three-point shot for the Clippers, and Marion darted into
the lane for a finger roll and converted the subsequent three-point play for a
92-86 Suns lead with 49.2 seconds left. That finished a 10-1 spurt for
Brand’s three-point play brought LA within 92-89 only three seconds later and
Quinton Ross’ two free throws after an over-the-back foul on Boris Diaw had
the Clippers within a point with 28.4 seconds left.
With the shot clock running down, the league’s MVP drained a fadeaway shot
from the left elbow with 3.6 seconds left, and after a timeout Radmanovic
missed badly off the rim on his three-point try.
The Clippers led 28-26 after the opening quarter, but Marion’s three extended
Phoenix to a 37-30 cushion in the second. The game was tied at 48 at the half.
A Diaw layup capped six straight Phoenix points to move the Suns to a 70-61
lead late in the third and it was 72-63 going into the fourth.
Corey Maggette had 14 rebounds for the Clippers…Cuttino Mobley scored 14
points, while Chris Kaman had 11 and Ross 10 for LA…Raja Bell scored 14 and
Diaw had 11 for Phoenix.