A bizarre and scary incident before their latest home game didn’t appear to rattle the Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will try to get back to normal when they make a quick return to Staples Center on Sunday against the Phoenix Suns, who hope to build on their first win in five contests.
Before Los Angeles’ 100-92 victory over Cleveland on Saturday, police and security guards were locked in a standoff with a man wielding a steak knife. Both teams were sequestered in their locker rooms for most of the hour-long drama, which ended when the unidentified man was subdued by a beanbag gun then led away in handcuffs.
“That was crazy, man. There aren’t too many knife standoffs in Oklahoma - not that I can remember. So it’s a first for me,” forward Blake Griffin(notes) said. “We were trapped in here for a while. But both teams had to go through it, so it didn’t really put us at a disadvantage.”
The teams’ request for extra warm-up time was denied by the NBA, but it didn’t seem to affect the Clippers (27-43). Griffin provided 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists during Los Angeles’ third win in four home games.
“I really tried to play with no restrictions,” Gordon said. “I tried not to pay attention to it. If it gets knocked or banged, or if I land on the floor wrong like I did the other two times, it is what it is. But I’ve just got to keep on going out there and playing.”
Gordon scored 24 points and made a pivotal steal in the final minute in December as Los Angeles snapped a nine-game skid to Phoenix. The Clippers also used Griffin’s team-best 28 points and 12 rebounds during that 108-103 win at Staples Center.
The Suns (34-33) head to Los Angeles after ending a four-game slide with Friday’s 108-97 victory over Golden State.
Phoenix, which hadn’t topped 97 points during its losing streak, had five players in double figures with Marcin Gortat(notes) scoring a team-best 18 points. Channing Frye(notes) chipped in 17 points and nine rebounds in his return from a dislocated right shoulder.
“My teammates did a great job of just making sure that I kept a level head,” said Frye, who missed the previous five games. “Just tried to get my legs into it. The shoulder’s fine. When I’m out there playing, I don’t really think about that.”
The win helped 11th-place Phoenix stay within two games of Memphis in the race for the Western Conference’s final postseason berth. The Grizzlies, though, won Saturday night against Indiana, dropping the Suns 2 1/2 games back.
Phoenix will try to get that deficit back down to two games by earning its fifth win in six road games against the Clippers.