LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers are doing their best
to look forward -- understandable since reflecting back is so
And all the analysis in the world won't help them beat the
Phoenix Suns twice -- the requirement for advancing past the second
round of the playoffs for the first time.
"You can't get last night back -- it's not changing," Clippers
coach Mike Dunleavy said Wednesday of his team's 125-118
double-overtime loss in Phoenix, giving the Suns a 3-2 lead in the
Western Conference semifinals.
"It's a really tough loss. It could have been an incredibly
great win for us, down 19," Dunleavy said. "We did a bunch of
things wrong that enabled them to win the game. The only thing we
can do is come back and win tomorrow night.
"We don't have to be desperate, we just have to be solid."
Should the Suns win Thursday night at Staples Center, they'll
advance to the conference finals for the second straight year.
Should the Clippers prevail, it's back to Phoenix for a seventh and
deciding game Monday night.
"We have the ability to win tomorrow night. We have the ability
to win Monday night. That's not an issue," Dunleavy said.
The Clippers were in position to win Tuesday night, rallying
from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to take the lead in
the first overtime. But thanks mainly to Raja Bell and Shawn
Marion, the Suns survived in their 11th playoff game in a span of
"We'll just try to gather our energy up and get loosened back
up and get ready to go again," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said.
"It's not going to be easy, whether we have our energy or not.
"Going into their home floor, we need some luck. I think we'll
have a shot to win the game."
Bell's 3-pointer from the left corner with 1.1 seconds left in
the first overtime tied the game and forced the second overtime,
where the Suns outscored the Clippers 14-7.
Marion had 36 points and a career playoff-high 20 rebounds while
playing all but 3½ minutes of a possible 58. He limped off the
court with an injured left ankle in the second overtime, but
returned to make a layup with 1:05 left that triggered a
game-closing 6-0 run.
"I talked to him on the phone and he said he's fine," D'Antoni
said of Marion, who didn't practice Wednesday, instead undergoing
treatment and taking care of some personal business before the
flight to Los Angeles.
With the Clippers leading 111-108 and 3.6 seconds left in the
first overtime, Phoenix got the ball to Bell, who connected over
The Clippers had a foul to give, and Dunleavy said that was the
plan. But he didn't blame Ewing, and didn't regret inserting the
rookie into the game for the first time.
"We've done it all year because of the quickness factor," the
coach said. "That was the decision. He's been one of our top
defenders on the ball. The guy made a tough shot."
Ewing said he intended to foul, but decided otherwise because he
didn't want to risk doing so while Bell was in the act of shooting.
"He caught the ball in the corner and turned and shot," Ewing
said. "I did the best I could, put pressure on the shooter. It was
a good play for them and a bad break for us. It was judgment call.
He made a tough shot. We have to live with it.
"We gave away three games. We know we can beat them."
While a couple of Los Angeles players acknowledged there was
some finger-pointing after the game, Ewing said he didn't feel
"I wouldn't say that," he said. "The shot didn't win the game
Sam Cassell, the Clippers' floor leader who scored 32 points,
didn't speak with reporters Wednesday. He was, however, quite
candid following the game.
"We had a young guy in the game. It's not his fault that Raja
made his shot, but we've got to know better in that situation,"
Cassell said. "We've got a foul to give, we've got to put Raja
Bell in the fifth row with the popcorn man, but we didn't do it."
Chris Kaman, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes
despite a strained right shoulder that kept him out of Game 3,
spoke openly on the subject Wednesday.
"Some fingers were pointed. We talked about it," Kaman said.
"Everything's good. Nothing we haven't seen before. We have a
"I don't want to talk about it -- the game's over. If we lose
(Thursday night) we go home."
When asked about finger-pointing, Dunleavy replied: "Barking
and stuff -- whatever. We're fine as a group."