Clippers' rising star Eric Gordon
A reserve suspended for violating the NBA drug policy. A star player talking openly about trade desires. Injuries and multiple losing streaks.
Yep, things are most definitely topsy-turvy in Los Angeles Clippers Land. Or, based on the franchise's underwhelming past, things are exactly the way they are supposed to be.
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A playoff team three seasons ago, the Clippers will be carrying a five-game losing streak into tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns. A loss in that game and the Clippers will match their season-high losing streak when they started off the season 0-6. Add in a little Clipper luck - such as the five-game suspension of Ricky Davis for drug use, a knee injury to leading scorer Zach Randolph, and guard Baron Davis telling ex-Golden State teammate Stephen Jackson that he would like to return to the Bay Area - - and it's easy to see why the Clips are 8-23.
This will mark the first of four matchups this season between the Pacific Division foes. For the Suns, who traditionally struggle against any team from L.A., the key to victory is getting Steve Nash's back back into shape. (The point guard sat out Tuesday's win against the Memphis Grizzlies on account of back spasms. At the time of writing, he was expected to return to help ball up the lowly Clippers.)
Another factor will be whether Amare Stoudemire can stay out of foul trouble, and that will include keeping his temper in check. Fouling out of games, bad calls or not, is bad enough (he did that against Oklahoma City), but getting tossed for a second technical, bad call or not, is just plain immature (he did that before the end of the first half against Memphis).
The Sunswill match up with Davis, team leader in rebounds Marcus Camby, and rising star rookie Eric Gordon. Game time is at 7 p.m. tonight at U.S. Airways Center. Go to www.nba.com/suns. Local TV: My45. Radio: KTAR-AM 620.-- Steve Jansen