Strong play on the offensive end has helped the Los Angeles Clippers lead the Pacific Division for most of the season.
The newest addition to that attack will make his team debut when Los Angeles visits the division rival Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Danny Granger, who has scored 17.6 points per game during his nine-year career, will take the court for the first time after signing with Los Angeles (41-20) on Friday.
The small forward played 29 games this season for Indiana, which drafted him 17th overall in 2005, before being traded to Philadelphia on Feb. 20. His contract was bought out by the 76ers, allowing him to sign with the Clippers for the stretch run of the season and the playoffs.
Granger hoped to play Saturday when the Clippers rolled past New Orleans 108-76, but coach Doc Rivers forgot to include him among his active players, leaving Granger on the bench in street clothes.
"I think Danny brings an edge, a confidence, and one thing about our league is you have to earn respect, and Danny has done that," point guard Chris Paul said. "So with him on the court every night, I don't care what his percentage is or what's happened in the game. He is respected and we were hoping he was going to get on the court with us tonight, but soon enough. I really like the way our team looks right now."
The Clippers have been on a roll of late offensively, winning four in a row while averaging 114.3points. They were without their top two shooting guards against the Pelicans as Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick are sidelined with injuries, forcing them to pair Paul with backup point guard Darren Collison. The duo worked well, combining for 36 points and 11 assists.
"I think our chemistry is at a great place right now, and the great thing about that is we don't have J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford right now," forward Blake Griffin said. "But to have that kind of chemistry, hopefully it's a little bit contagious when we finally add Danny and Big Baby (newly acquired forward Glen Davis) start to play more and get more and more into rotation. Hopefully it's just one of those things where they can step into it."
Los Angeles will likely need to be at its best again to keep up with the Suns (35-24). Phoenix is coming off its highest-scoring performance of the season, a 129-120 victory against Atlanta on Sunday.
The Suns shot 62.5 percent from 3-point range, and shooting guard Gerald Green went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc to finish with 33 points. They scored 79 first-half points, the highest total in the NBA this season.
Phoenix, though, is allowing an average of 111.6 points over the last five games.
''It's nothing we need to be super overly cautious about, but we do need to take a step back and kind of look and see what we're doing wrong," Green said.
The Suns have been an effective offensive team all season, especially on their own floor. They score 108.4 points in Phoenix, which trails only the Clippers (110.9) for the league's highest average in home games.
Phoenix has been even better of late, posting 114.5 points on 50.1 percent shooting over its past four at home.
In the only previous meeting between these teams this season, the Suns jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead and won 107-88 in Los Angeles on Dec. 30. Phoenix has won 11 of the last 12 matchups on its own court.
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- Los Angeles Clippers
- Phoenix Suns
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- Danny Granger
- Jamal Crawford