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Suns fight back from 23-point deficit, fall 131-122 to Clippers

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After being down by as much as 23 points, the Phoenix Suns fought back to the final horn, ultimately losing 131-122 to the Los Angeles Clippers, snapping their four-game winning streak.

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Clippers’ Paul George scored 33 points and Kawhi Leonard collected 30. ASU alum James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists to record a double-double.

The Clippers led 35-20 in the first quarter with 29 points coming from just two contributors. George scored 17 from 6-of-8 shooting and 3-of-4 from three-point range while Terrance Mann tacked on 12 points in the initial-12 minutes of play.

Even though the Suns were missing Kevin Durant for a second consecutive game due to right hamstring soreness, the Clippers offense caused too many issues for Phoenix defensively, converting at 55.3% from the field and 52.9% from beyond the arc.

LA continued to role as Leonard got going with 12 second quarter points after zero in the first.

For Phoenix, Bradley Beal was the only Sun to end the first half with double-digit points, 13.

With poor pass selection and Los Angeles double-teaming certain players, the Suns committed 17 turnovers as their slow start took a tole.

Whatever they discussed at halftime, however, the Suns’ offensive woes would start to evaporate.

The Suns shot at 53.2% and 42.9% from deep, outscored the Clippers 71-51 in the second half and saw their deficit shrink to as low as seven points, 129-122.

Devin Booker cranked up another gear as the game continued, notching 35 points. Beal finished with 21 and Bol Bol came off the bench to record 14 in the loss.

Speaking on the overall performance of his team, Suns head coach Frank Vogel praised his squad while also voicing his opinion on a certain issue that impacted the result of the game.

“Really proud of how we competed, we didn’t give up on the game, I think that is a positive attribute to our team,” Vogel said. “I am more concerned with how we started the game defensively. I don’t think we had the necessary disposition to guard an elite offense, a team with a lot of firepower.”

Despite them displaying a valiant effort in the second half, the damage was already done in the first for the Suns, falling 131-122.

When reflecting on what him and the Suns need to improve on moving forward, Booker said that they have to be ready from the jump.

“We gotta start games better with a sense of urgency and just be ready for the fight,” Booker said. “We were fighting an uphill battle the whole game and we showed some things in the second half of what it looks like when we turn up the energy and turn up the intensity.”

Next Games

Phoenix are now 18-16 but will continue their six-game homestand when they face the Miami Heat (19-14) on Friday.

As for Los Angeles, they improve to 20-12 on the season, remain first place in the Pacific Division and are fourth in the Western Conference. Their three-game roadtrip roles on over to New Orleans in an encounter with the Pelicans (21-14) on Jan. 5.

Frank Vogel clarifies why Kevin Durant is missing another game

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Alec Cipollini is a reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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