PREVIEW: Clippers take on Suns in Phoenix (5:30p, Prime Ticket)
The Suns (18-41) will attempt to reverse other trends when they play host to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, the second of a back-to-back set for the Clippers after a 134-127 loss at Golden State.
The Suns lost their last seven, 12 of 13 and 15 of 17 before the All-Star break, and the Clippers (30-27) have given them problems all season.
The Clippers won the first two games of the season series by 42 and 13 points, and Suns coach Earl Watson was replaced after the 130-88 loss in the third game of the season Oct. 21.
Los Angeles is 5-2 since trading forward Blake Griffin to Detroit on Jan. 29 and over a longer time frame is 13-6.
Despite the recent uptick, the Clippers are one game out of the Western Conference playoff picture. At the same time, they are only 2 1/2 games behind fifth-place Oklahoma City, a measly one in the loss column. The four teams ahead of them each have 26 losses.
“It’s going to come down to teams playing well coming out of the break and taking care of business,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told the Los Angeles Times before the start of the second half.
“We just have to win every game … that’s got to be your mindset. You know you’re not going to win every game, but you got to have that mindset.”
The Suns are one of six teams with a league-low 18 victories, but they will not “strategically rest” players as they did with guard Eric Bledsoe last season in an attempt to move up in the draft.
Lou Williams, who leads the Clippers with a 23.2 scoring average, had a season-high 12 assists against Golden State. He has scored at least 15 points in 28 straight games.
Tobias Harris, the principle piece acquired for Griffin, had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists against the Warriors.