Paul George and Terance Mann lead Clippers past Suns before the break – Orange County Register
BY JACK THOMPSON The Associated Press
PHOENIX — Paul George and Terance Mann each scored 26 points and the Clippers defeated the Phoenix Suns 116-107 in Thursday night’s last NBA game before the All-Star break.
Kawhi Leonard added 16 points, all in the second half, and nine rebounds. Ivica Zubac and Eric Gordon each scored 13 points and Zubac had 12 rebounds.
The Suns missed nine of their first 10 3-point attempts, only Josh Okogie warming up later in the game. Okogie led Phoenix with 24 points. He was 6 for 12 behind the arc but the rest of the Suns made five combined.
Devin Booker had 19 points and nine assists for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton scored 18 points and newcomer Terrance Ross had 16 points. Booker was 1 for 6 from the 3-point range but equaled Steve Nash’s franchise record with 1,051 3-pointers.
Chris Paul had 11 assists, two nights down from a season-high 19 against Sacramento.
The Clippers have scored 100 or more points in 20 of their last 21 games.
The loss was the Suns’ first in 10 games against a Pacific Division opponent, and the Clippers moved up to second place ahead of Phoenix as they went on the All-Star break.
The Suns won the first two meetings between the teams, both at Crypto.com Arena, but the rosters have changed a lot since then.
The Clippers added guards Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon and backup center Mason Plumlee as of last week’s deadline, while the Suns dropped Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Jae Crowder to take on Kevin Durant and TJ Warren.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said the Suns trio of Durant, Booker and Paul reminded him of competing against Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson when Lue was coaching Cleveland in the NBA Finals.
“I don’t want to think about it,” Lue said of the Suns adding Durant to their rotation. “It’s tough reporting, tough matchup. I’m curious how they play, how they share the basketball. But it looks really good on paper.”
Ross switched to the Suns for the game and quickly made an impression by scoring a team-high seven points in the first quarter. Ross, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, was waived by Orlando as his contract expired after that season.
Ross averaged eight points in 22 minutes per game in his 11th NBA season with the Magic.
The Clippers played without Norman Powell, who rested his ailing right knee. “No major concerns,” Lue said of Powell resting the Clippers’ final game before the All-Star break. Phoenix is without Durant (knee), Landry Shamet (foot) and Cameron Payne (foot).
The Clippers host Sacramento when they return from the All-Star break on February 24.
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/16/paul-george-terance-mann-lead-clippers-past-suns-before-break/ Paul George and Terance Mann lead Clippers past Suns before the break – Orange County Register