Suns blitz Clippers 107-88 with Dragic's 26 points
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Goran Dragic had 26 points and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter, Gerald Green added 21 points off the bench, and the Phoenix Suns ended the year with a 107-88 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
The Suns have won 10 of their last 12 after a 9-9 start under first-year coach Jeff Hornacek, and trail the defending Pacific Division champion Clippers by a half-game for the top spot.
Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford each scored 15 points for Los Angeles, while Chris Paul had 11 points and seven assists. It was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Clippers, who beat the Suns the previous three times they hosted them- by an average margin of 20 points.
Eric Bledsoe, who came in as Phoenix's leading scorer with an 18.4 average, played his first game against the team he spent his first four NBA seasons with and finished with seven points and four assists in 31 minutes.
Bledsoe was traded to Phoenix last July with Caron Butler as part of a three-team deal with Milwaukee that brought J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to Los Angeles. Redick has missed the last 16 games because of a broken bone in his right hand and a ligament tear in his wrist.
The Suns were 12 for 31 on 3-pointers against the Clippers, who came in with the league's best defense against 3-point shooting (32.7 percent).
Dragic, who averaged only 9.2 points in his 17 previous games against the Clippers, powered the Suns to a 61-40 halftime lead with 20 points. Green added 14 in the second quarter, including a trio of 3-pointers that helped fuel a 16-4 run in the final 4:08 of the half.
The Clippers went up against an offense that began the day averaging a league-best 19.1 fast-break points, and allowed 18 for the game. Phoenix scored the game's first nine points, seven off three Clippers turnovers.
The Suns converted 20 Los Angeles turnovers into 20 points overall, including a three-point play by Dragic that gave them a 45-34 lead with 4:55 left in the half. Los Angeles got no closer than 16 in the second half, as Griffin and Paul both sat out the fourth quarter with the Clippers trailing 88-59 through three.
The Clippers finished the month 9-7. Last December they went 16-0, joining the Spurs (March 1996) and Lakers (November AND December 1971) as the only teams in NBA history to go unbeaten during a calendar month.
NOTES: Despite the Clippers' loss, this will be the first time in franchise history that they will make it to New Year's Day without a losing streak of more than two games in a full season. ... This was the first meeting between the teams in the regular season since Jan. 25, when the Suns beat Los Angeles in Lindsey Hunter's second game as interim coach after replacing Alvin Gentry. Gentry, who spent three seasons as Clippers head coach before taking the Phoenix job, is back with them as a member of Doc Rivers' staff. ... Griffin has drawn 123 fouls from opposing players, three more than Houston's Dwight Howard. The Suns fouled Griffin six times. ... None of the Clippers' other 11 losses were by more than 14 points. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan played 21 scoreless minutes in the first half with 12 rebounds. He finished with two points and 19 boards. ... The Clippers took their only lead, 14-13, on a pair of free throws by Griffin.
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