Clippers host Pacific Division-rival Phoenix
(Sports Network) – Pacific Division rivals return from the All-Star break, as
the Los Angeles Clippers welcome the Phoenix Suns to the Staples Center.
Phoenix, which has won the Pacific the last two seasons, leads the division
and holds a comfortable 10-game lead over the second-place Lakers. The
Clippers are in third place, 14 1/2 games off the pace.
The All-Star Game came at the right time for the Suns, who lost their last
three contests heading into the break. Reigning MVP Steve Nash has missed four
straight games with a sore right shoulder. He did not play in Sunday’s All-
Nash leads the league in assists (11.8 apg), while fellow All-Stars Amare
Stoudemire and Shawn Marion lead the team in scoring and rebounding.
Stoudemire is averging 19.9 points per game and Marion has grabbed 10.3 baords
The Suns are 19-7 on the road this season. They return home to host the Boston
Celtics on Wednesday at US Airways Center.
Nash and Boris Diaw (back spasms) are both probable for tonight’s game. Diaw,
who is averaging 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists this season, has
missed the Suns last two contests.
The Clippers also dropped their final three contests prior to the break. On
February 14th, Joe Johnson scored 27 points, and the Clippers blew a 15-point
lead in the fourth quarter to fall 96-93 to the Atlanta Hawks at the Staples
Cuttino Mobley scored a season-high 31 points in the loss to Atlanta for the
Clippers, while Chris Kaman added 20 points and 13 boards. Shaun Livingston
scored 11 points in defeat.
Elton Brand leads the team in scoring (20.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg),
while veteran Sam Cassell has dished out a team-best 5.4 assists per game.
The Clippers are 17-9 at home this season. They will host the Golden State
Warriors on Saturday.
This is the third of four meetings between the clubs this season. The teams
split the previous two contests. The Suns are scheduled to host the Clippers
on April 17th at US Airways Center.
The Suns have lost two of their last three at the Clippers.