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Suns 107, Clippers 88

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- In a battle of two of the Pacific Division's top clubs, the Phoenix Suns handed the Los Angeles Clippers their worst defeat of the season.

Guard Goran Dragic scored 26 points, and the Suns coasted to a 107-88 rout of the Clippers before a sellout crowd of 19,278 at Staples Center on Monday night.

Phoenix (19-11) snapped the Clippers' five-game home winning streak. The Suns, who pulled to within a half-game of Los Angeles (21-12) for the division lead, also captured their 10th win in their last 12 games.

The Clippers suffered their worst loss since the Oklahoma City Thunder pounded them 105-91 on Nov. 21.

Dragic, who also had eight assists and five steals, drained 10 of his 15 shots from the floor in 32 minutes. He did not play in the fourth quarter.

Reserve guard Gerald Green added 21 points, hitting five of the Suns' 12 3-pointers. Forwards P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye chipped in 12 points each.

Guard Eric Bledsoe, in his first game at Staples Center against his former club since he was dealt to Phoenix for forward Jared Dudley and guard J.J. Redick, wasn't much of a factor, finishing with seven points and four assists.

Forward Blake Griffin and guard Jamal Crawford led Los Angeles with 15 points apiece. The two combined to shoot just 9-for-28. Clippers forward Matt Barnes scored 13 points, while guard Chris Paul had 11 points and seven assists.

Phoenix had everything going its way from the opening tip, rolling to a 61-40 lead at halftime. Dragic inflicted most of the damage for the Suns in the first half, hitting eight of his 10 shots from the field for 20 points, 13 of those coming in the first quarter. The Suns also got a boost off the bench from Green, who scored 14 in the second quarter, converting four of his seven attempts from behind the arc.

The Suns outscored the Clippers 31-16 in the second quarter.

Griffith led Los Angeles with 13 first-half points.

The Suns continue to pour it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 27-19 for an 88-59 advantage heading into the fourth.

NOTES: Phoenix G Eric Bledsoe, who got a warm reception from the Clippers fans during introductions, remains close to Clippers G Chris Paul, frequently exchanging texts. ... Suns first-year coach Jeff Hornacek admitted that even he is surprised by the team's strong start. "We thought if we'd just play hard, play together, we'd win a good amount of games," he said. "But (we) probably exceeded our expectations. It's early in the season, though." ... Clippers F Blake Griffin, a career 62.2 percent free-throw shooter, had hit 99 of 127 attempts (77.9 percent) in 15 games this month. He shot 5-for-7 from the line Monday.
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