Updated Apr 4, 2013 - 9:02 am
Suns Strokes: Poor third quarter hands Phoenix seventh straight loss
Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won't tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns' 126-101 loss to Clippers on April 3.
After trailing 15-0 just 4:00 into their road matchup against a superior opponent, the Suns didn't hang their heads. Phoenix clawed its way back into the contest and little by little chipped away at the Clippers' double-digit lead. The Suns never pulled even but were within two with just minutes remaining in the first half.
The calf injury that plagued center Jermaine O'Neal last week seems to have gone away following the team's three-day hiatus.
The 34-year-old was very efficient off the bench, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight boards. Lindsey Hunter also got another encouraging contribution off the pine from Michael Beasley. The first-year Sun scored in double-figures (13 points) for the third straight game.
As bad as the first four minutes were Wednesday night, the third quarter was much, much worse.
Los Angeles went on a 24-5 run midway through the third frame and turned what was actually a highly-competitive game into a one-sided track meet.
During that stretch, the Suns committed five turnovers and went 2-of-8 from the field.
Goran Dragic and Markieff Morris were not benched for Thursday's game, but they might as well have been. The duo combined for 15 points on 4-of-20 shooting.
Wednesday's game was a bit chippy from the start, but things finally boiled over with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
With 8:59 left to go, Ryan Hollins locked up Goran Dragic around the neck on an inbounds pass and wouldn't let go of the Suns point guard. Michael Beasley then came to the defense of his teammate, but his loyalty to Dragic and subsequent pushes led to a brief skirmish near Phoenix's bench.
No punches were thrown, but Hollins and Beasley were both ejected for their actions.
• The Suns extended their losing streak to seven games Wednesday, which ties their season-high (November 28-December 9).
• The Clippers scored 98 points off Suns' turnovers in four games this season.
• Los Angeles won 50 games for the first time in franchise history.
• In the loss, Wesley Johnson recorded his third 20-point game in his last four contests.
The Suns (23-52) will welcome the Golden State Warriors into US Airways Center on Friday at 7 p.m.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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