Clippers-Suns Preview

The Associated Press

The Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers aren't satisfied with setting a franchise record for consecutive wins.

Perhaps a victory in Phoenix would bring some satisfaction.

Los Angeles goes for a 13th consecutive victory on Sunday night when the Suns try to win their 11th in a row with the Clippers in town.

Los Angeles (20-6) has gone undefeated since a four-game skid and has broken a 38-year-old club record for consecutive wins. The Clippers set that mark - and matched Oklahoma City for the longest winning streak of the season - with Friday's 97-85 victory over Sacramento.

"It's very exciting, 12 in a row," Jamal Crawford, the NBA leader with 16.1 points per game off the bench, told the Clippers' official website. "We just have to keep the streak going, but not get over excited about it."

The Clippers have to be pleased with their effort on the defensive end. Los Angeles, the league leader with 10.7 steals per game, is giving up 88.2 points per contest and holding teams to 41.5 percent shooting since its last loss.

Included in that stretch is a 117-99 victory over Phoenix (11-16) on Dec. 8 when the Clippers forced the Suns into a season-worst 20 turnovers.

Los Angeles arrives in the desert with a franchise-record five-game road winning streak, yet it hasn't won at Phoenix since April 17, 2007.

The Suns were hoping to return home on a five-game winning streak, but their best run of the season ended Saturday with a 96-93 loss to Portland.

Phoenix was outrebounded by 13 and shot 17 fewer free throws than the Blazers, but it still had a chance in the final seconds to tie as Goran Dragic missed a 3-pointer. Shannon Brown also missed a short jumper as the Suns dropped their sixth straight on the road.

"We had an opportunity to go down, and I thought we could get a quick two with a timeout left,'' said coach Alvin Gentry, a former Clippers head coach. "Then we peeled off and started looking for a three, and just never got the timeout called.''

The Suns, though, return home where they've won a season-best four straight by an average of 11.3 points.

Phoenix is holding opponents to 89.5 points per game during this stretch.

The Clippers haven't reached 98 points in their last three contests, but they're still scoring 103.0 per game during their winning streak.

Los Angeles' bench is averaging 44.8 points, 19.2 rebounds and 10.8 assists since the team's last defeat.

The Clippers' reserves had 56 points on Dec. 8 - their second-most of the season - with Crawford scoring 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, Matt Barnes finishing with 13 and Eric Bledsoe chipping in with 10.

As much as the Clippers rely on their deep bench, expectations remain the highest on Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Griffin is averaging team highs of 19.8 points and 8.6 rebounds during the streak, while Paul is scoring 16.0 points with 9.3 assists.

"That's what All-Stars do," coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Griffin scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed eight boards on Dec. 8 and Paul notched his fourth straight double-double against Phoenix with 16 points and 11 assists.

Dragic, the team leader with 14.8 points per game, had a season-low eight points in that defeat.

Despite shooting a combined 40.6 percent, Los Angeles lost by just three in each of its two visits to Phoenix in 2011-12.

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