Alando Tucker, back in the Phoenix lineup after missing three games with a tightness in his left hamstring, missed five of his first six shots and finished with 10 points in his first start of the preseason. Robin Lopez, getting his first start while Shaquille O'Neal had the night off, had five points and two rebounds before fouling out with 7:26 left in the game and Phoenix ahead 69-61.
Chris Kaman had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers (4-2), who have two more exhibition games at Staples Center before their season opener on Oct. 26 against the Lakers.
The Suns (4-3) conclude their preseason slate Thursday against Oklahoma City (the former Seattle SuperSonics) and open the season Oct. 29 at San Antonio.
The Clippers cut a 10-point deficit to 71-67 before the Suns pulled away. Diaw made three layups at the start of a 12-2 run that increased the margin to 81-67 with 2 minutes remaining.
Lopez, a 7-foot rookie from Stanford, joined Shaq on the bench just 3:41 into the game after picking up three fouls in a 44-second span. The 15th overall pick in the draft got his fourth foul with 4:06 left in the third and the score tied at 56. His fifth came with 11:07 to play, after his tip-in of Grant Hill's missed jumper gave Phoenix a 67-59 lead.
The Clippers led by 11 points midway through the second quarter before Phoenix pulled ahead 56-54 on Tucker's 21-foot jumper with 5:49 left in the third.
Both teams had a lot of minutes to spread around because of injuries. Phoenix point guard Steve Nash missed his third straight game because of a sprained right ankle and Raja Bell was felled by the flu. Matt Barnes couldn't play because of a sore wrist, but Sean Singletary returned to the lineup after missing Monday night's 111-108 double overtime victory against the Charlotte Bobcats with back spasms.
Clippers forward Marcus Camby remained out of coach Mike Dunleavy's rotation because of a bruised right heel, and former Suns forward Tim Thomas remained sidelined due to a groin strain.
At least the Clippers got some good news Monday regarding point guard Baron Davis, who won't need surgery to repair the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left ring finger. Davis, who was injured when he fell on his hand at last Friday's practice, will have the finger in a splint until Saturday and is expected to resume all basketball activities in a week. He has missed three games because of the injury and two more because of the flu.
Davis, Camby and Thomas and could be ready for opening night. Before the game, the Clippers exercised the third-year option on forward Al Thornton's contract. He was selected to the NBA's all-rookie first team last season after averaging 12.7 points and 4.5 rebounds last season.
Under the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Clippers had the right to exercise this contract option. Thornton will now become a restricted free agent following the 2009-10 season, with the Clippers holding the right of first refusal.