Phoenix wins series 4-3 (Game 2 of 7)

Phoenix wins series 4-3

Game 1: Monday, May 8th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 10th
Game 3: Friday, May 12th
Game 4: Sunday, May 14th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 16th
Game 6: Thursday, May 18th
Game 7: Monday, May 22nd

Clippers 122

(47-35, 20-21 away)

Suns 97

(54-28, 31-10 home)

7:30 PM ET, May 10, 2006

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
LAC 38 27 33 24122
PHX 22 29 28 1897

Top Performers

LAC: E. Brand 27 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

PHX: S. Nash 14 Pts, 3 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

Clippers outrebound Suns 57-26 in Game 2

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers turned playground bully in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Elton Brand & Co. pushed the smaller Phoenix Suns around all night Wednesday, dominating the boards 57-26 in a 122-97 rout that evened the best-of-seven series.

Daily Dime
The Clippers shifted the momentum of the series Wednesday by completely dominating Game 2 at both ends, but the recurring story from the first two games is Phoenix's inability to get stops. Not only did L.A. shoot 54.4 percent from the floor -- after hitting 59.3 percent in Game 1 -- the Clips also rebounded most of their rare misses. They had 19 offensive boards for the game, and 15 when they took control of the game in the first half.

To read more of John Hollinger's analysis in the Wednesday night Daily Dime, click here.

Game 3 is in Los Angeles on Friday night.

"We're little and you have to fight," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said, "and if you don't have the fight in you, big guys are going to punish you -- and they did."

Brand, coming off a 40-point performance in Game 1, had 27 points and 10 rebounds as all five Clippers starters scored in double figures.

Cuttino Mobley, held to three points on 1-for-6 shooting in Game 1, scored 23 points, as did Sam Cassell, the Clippers' 36-year-old point guard. Chris Kaman added 14 points and 16 rebounds and Quentin Ross scored 11 points.

"We feel good about going home," Brand said. "They didn't do what they had to do on their court, now we shift it to our home court advantage."

It was the second most one-sided home playoff loss in Suns' history, eclipsed only by their 129-90 first-round rout by Utah in 1991.

Phoenix also lost at home in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, then had to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the series. The Suns had won four straight playoff games going into Wednesday night.

Raja Bell, who opened the game 0-for-5, led the Suns with 20 points, while Leandro Barbosa added 19 and Tim Thomas 15. Steve Nash had 14 points and eight assists, then sat out the final 5:44.

But the story of this game was rebounding. The Clippers dominated the offensive boards 19-5, leading to a 31-6 advantage in second-chance points.

"We've got a size advantage down there," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "As long as we keep our bigs down there, that's what's supposed to happen."

Los Angeles led by as many as 20 points in the first half and 21 in the third quarter.

"For whatever reason, we didn't play with a lot of energy tonight," Nash said. "I thought we were elsewhere much of the game. We didn't have a great focus. We need that. We're smaller than every team we play. We need to scrap and we need to focus."

Cassell scored eight points as the Clippers bolted to a 20-6 lead. Cassell's three-point play with 33 seconds left put Los Angeles ahead 38-22 after one quarter, and the Clippers scored the first four points of the second to take a 42-22 lead on Corey Maggette's inside basket with 11:17 left in the half.

Barbosa, who had 10 points in the second quarter, scored seven in a 9-0 Suns spurt that cut it to 42-31 on his three-point play 9:12 before halftime. The Brazilian's 3-pointer sliced the lead to 50-41 with 5:16 left in the second. The Suns never got within single digits again.

Shaun Livingston's tip-in with 1:47 left in the half put Los Angeles up 63-46. Shawn Marion scored on a drive and was fouled, but missed the free throw. Then Bell's 3-pointer cut it to 63-51 with 1:10 to play. Marion missed a wide-open layup that would have sliced the lead to 10, then Livingston scored inside just before the halftime buzzer and the Clippers led 65-51.

Phoenix never cut into that 14-point lead in the second half.

"There was a little fatigue out there," said Marion, who had 13 points and six rebounds. "But even though we were fatigued, we didn't give ourselves a chance to win. We just got killed on the boards."

Ross' three-point play on an offensive rebound gave Los Angeles an 86-65 lead with 5:54 left in the third quarter.

D'Antoni, whose teams are 1-4 in Game 2s the past two seasons, thought it was a natural letdown.

"I think it's understandable for our guys, and they will regroup and we'll lay it on the line next game," he said. "It is size obviously but to negate that and to not get killed, you have to have that second effort, which we had on Monday and didn't have tonight."

Game notes

The Clippers had more offensive rebounds in the first half (15) than the Suns had defensive rebounds (14). ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Clippers' 59 percent shooting in Game 1 was the highest for a losing team in the playoffs since the Nets shot 60 percent and lost to Chicago on April 29, 1998. ... The Suns are 0-4 in these playoffs when they fail to score 100.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 122 97
FGM-FGA 49-90 (.544) 36-79 (.456)
3PM-3PA 4-9 (.444) 9-26 (.346)
FTM-FTA 20-25 (.800) 16-23 (.696)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-57 5-26
Assists 15 24
Turnovers 12 10
Steals 6 4
Blocks 3 9
Fast Break Points 9 11
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 21 (0/0)
Largest Lead 25 0

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Elton Brand Brand
Points: 27
Reb: 10
Ast: 2
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
Steve Nash Nash
Points: 14
Reb: 3
Ast: 8
Stl: 1
Blk: 0