Suns rally to beat Clippers 81-78Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (AP) -- On a night few shots fell, Phoenix guard Jared Dudley made more than most.
Dudley scored 22 points and made two crucial free throws in the final minute as the Suns rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 81-78 on Friday.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Grant Hill added 14 points for the Suns, who won for the fourth time in five games despite shooting 35 percent from the floor.
"It wasn't pretty, especially early on," Dudley said. "It's been two games at home where we haven't gotten it going early but defense kept us in there."
Channing Frye was emblematic of both the Suns' offensive struggles and defensive success, shooting 2 of 18 from the floor but adding a key free throw. He pulled down 14 rebounds and held Blake Griffin to 17 points on a season-low 6 of 19 from the floor.
"He bodied him up and played with him and 6 for 19 is as good as you can hope from him," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "The great thing is we took everything away from him."
Chris Paul had 16 points and Kenyon Martin added 14 off the bench for the Clippers, who shot 37 percent en route to their second loss in their past three.
"I felt like we were really dead and didn't have it," Griffin said. "There was not a lot of energy. There's no excuse."
The Suns, who trailed by 11 points midway through the second quarter, opened a 63-52 lead on Markieff Morris' 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds left in the third.
The Clippers slowly rallied, tying the game at 70 on Mo Williams' 3-pointer from the left corner with 4 minutes to play.
Gortat blocked Caron Butler and Frye made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Suns a 77-72 lead with 29.5 seconds left. Paul pulled the Clippers within 77-75 with a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the arc off the inbounds pass with 26.5 to go.
After a pair of Phoenix timeouts, Frye broke free to Hill's inbound pass before the Suns worked the ball to Dudley, who was fouled. Dudley's two free throws put the Suns ahead 79-75.
Paul attempted a 3-pointer but his shot was blocked by Hill, who then scored on a layup to secure the Suns' 13th win in their past 14 games against the Clippers.
"We shot horribly," Hill said. "We had good looks. We had great shots. They just didn't go through or go in. For the most part, our defense sustained."
Phoenix scored just 15 second-quarter points - barely outpacing the Clippers' 14 - yet trailed only 35-32 at the half. Hill gave the Suns their first lead since the early minutes, 38-37, on 14-foot jumper 9:56 into the third quarter.
"We just didn't shoot it," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "Both teams played last night. They struggled shooting. We struggled shooting. It was a low-scoring, ugly game especially in the first half."
The Suns have won nine straight at home against the Clippers, dating to April 17, 2007.