Clippers reserves impress despite loss to Suns

Henry Tran - Sporting Tribune
Los Angeles snapped its four-game win streak to the Suns with a depleted roster.

LOS ANGELES — One day after handing the Phoenix Suns a record-setting loss, the Suns repaid the favor.

The Clippers, who were sitting injured starters Paul George, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard, fell 124-108 at Arena on Wednesday night.

The Clippers’ bench players filled the hole for most of the game behind five players in double-figures. But the game became the breakout performance for Bones Hyland, who scored 37 points.

“Down the stretch the game got away and we couldn’t make a shot,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I think the guys got tired.”

Turning point: Kevin Durant and Devin Booker were the deciding factor Wednesday night as they put up consecutive 3-pointers to put Phoenix up 120-108 and seal the victory with 1:59 left. 

The Suns built a 15-point lead in the second quarter, but LA went on a 20-4 scoring run to lead 56-55 at the half.

What it means: The Clippers (51-29) had the chance to secure the fourth seed in the West with a win as the postseason starts on April 20. The team already won the Pacific Division for the first time in 10 years, but their home record they fell to 25-14.

LA’s first-round opponent has been decided by the Mavericks after they beat Miami Wednesday. The Western Conference quarterfinals will be between the Clippers and Mavericks for the third time in five years

Hits: The main hit was all of the reserves getting a chance to shine against Phoenix. The team shot 54.8% from the field in the first half and outscored the Suns 32-12 in the paint in the same period.

Misses: The Clippers lacked their firepower without George, Harden, and Leonard. Russell Westbroook was missing from the lineup as well with a left hand contusion. George has some left knee soreness, Harden has right foot inflammation and Leonard missed his sixth straight game with right knee inflammation.

Stat of the game: Hyland had quite a night against the Suns, hitting all six of his 3-pointers and collecting nine assists. Hyland finished with a career-high 37 points as well as three steals. The last Clipper to hit all of those marks in a game was Chris Paul in 2015, per Justin Russo.

Up next: The Clippers have two more regular-season games scheduled against the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets, both at Arena. The Jazz will visit Friday followed by the Rockets on Sunday.