Suns blow up Clippers, become first to reach 30 wins


January 6, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, United States; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) moves the ball against Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe (12) in the first half at the Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Johnson scored a career-high 24 points and picked up seven rebounds and Jalen Smith tied his career highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns secure a 106-89 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers Thursday evening.

Chris Paul contributed 14 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and 10 assists to register his first triple-double of the season and the 17th of his career. Devin Booker had only 11 points on 5 of 22 shots and Cameron Payne had 10 points.

Phoenix is ​​the first NBA team to achieve 30 wins this season. The Suns’ 30-8 start is the second-best in franchise history, behind the 31-7 set up by the team led by Steve Nash in 2004-05.

Marcus Morris Sr. scored 26 points, a season-high, and picked up eight rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost for the eighth time in their last 11 games.

Reggie Jackson had 16 points and Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Boston Jr. each had 10 for Los Angeles.

Phoenix was once again without Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and JaVale McGee. All three players have cleared the COVID-19 protocol but have been suspended due to the ramping up of conditioning.

The Clippers played without Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac. Both players are in the COVID-19 protocol.

The Suns shot 41.1% from the field and managed 10 of 31 for 3 points. Booker had the best 10 rebounds of the season as Phoenix held a 63-49 advantage on the boards.

The Clippers connected on 36% of their shots, including a shaking 6 of 28 behind the arc.

Los Angeles used a 10-2 run early in the fourth quarter to come close to 79-76 with 8:36 remaining in the game. Mikal Bridges responded with back-to-back baskets to take the Phoenix lead to seven.

The Clippers were given a three-point game from Morris to come closer to 87-83 with 5:14 left.

But Paul connected on a 3-point pointer and made clean passes to set up Johnson’s layup and Smith’s dunk to give the Suns a 94-83 lead with 3:37 to go.

Johnson drained a 3-pointer to bring the score to 99-85 with 2:06 to go as Phoenix fought off the Clippers.

Johnson scored 17 points in the first half as the Suns held a 56-40 lead.

Phoenix opened the second quarter with 11 straight points to take a 32-20 advantage. The lead reached 51-32 over Booker’s bucket with 2:52 to go.

The Clippers moved to 73-64 on a 3-point Morris with 2:47 left in the third quarter. The Suns were leading 75-66 at the start of the last stanza.

– Media at field level

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