Sunday , May , 14 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Suns attempt to take 3-1 lead over Clippers in West semis

=== Suns attempt to take 3-1 lead over Clippers in West semis ===

(Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Clippers try to knot their Western
Conference semifinals series with the Phoenix Suns at 2-2 when the clubs
battle tonight in Game 4 at the Staples Center.

Game 5 of this series is scheduled to be played on Tuesday at US Airways
Center.

After the teams split a pair of Games in Phoenix, the series resumed in Los
Angeles. On Friday, Shawn Marion poured in 32 points and pulled down 19
rebounds to lead the second-seeded Suns over the sixth-seeded Clippers, 94-91,
at the Staples Center.

Tim Thomas ended with 19 points and 14 rebounds in Game 3’s win for Phoenix,
which took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set. Reigning MVP 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.

Elton Brand finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the
loss for the Clippers, while Vladimir Radmanovic tallied 18 points, 14 in the
fourth, but missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

This is the first time that these clubs have met in the postseason.

The Suns have lost two of their last three Game 4s in the postseason, while
the Clippers have won three straight Game 4s.

The Clippers, who defeated the third-seeded Denver Nuggets in five games in
the first round, returned to the playoffs for the first time since the
1996-97 campaign, when they were swept in the opening round by the Utah Jazz,
3-0. In fact, the Clippers, who were the Buffalo Braves until the 1978-79
campaign, were eliminated in the opening round in 1992, 1993 and 1997.

The Braves, who became the San Diego Clippers after the 1977-78 season,
defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 2-1 in the first round of the 1975-76
playoffs. They have won two playoff series in franchise history.

For the first time in franchise history, the Suns came back from a 3-1 deficit
to win a playoff series in the opening round against the Lakers. They won
their second straight Pacific Division title crown during the regular season.

Last season, the Suns finished a league-best 62-20 during the regular
campaign. Phoenix had a solid run in the 2005 playoffs, as it advanced
to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1993, but was
eliminated in five games by the San Antonio Spurs, who defeated the Detroit
Pistons in seven games in the championship round.

LAC PHO