78 - 81 Final
  for this game

Dudley paces Suns over Clippers

Mar 3, 2012 - 8:37 AM Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Jared Dudley scored 22 points, including the game-sealing free throws with 13.3 seconds left in the contest, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists as the Phoenix Suns held off the Los Angeles Clippers, 81-78, at US Airways Center.

Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 14 boards, while Grant Hill contributed 14 points in the Suns' second consecutive win to improve to 4-1 on a six-game homestand.

"We have got to learn to grind out games and be able to win scoring 81 points," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said.

Blake Griffin had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Clippers, who lost for the fourth time in six games. Chris Paul had 16 points and five assists as Los Angeles dropped its ninth straight game in Phoenix.

Phoenix scored a season-low 32 points in the first half behind a 28.9 percent shooting performance, but the Suns found their stroke in the third quarter to take control of the game.

The Clippers held a 35-32 advantage at the break, but Phoenix opened the second half with a 10-2 run to jump out to a 42-37 lead.

Paul's three-pointer put a stop to the run and sparked a 10-5 swing by the Clippers to knot the game at 47 with a little under five minutes left in the third.

Then the Suns took over, closing out the frame with a 16-5 run to take a double-digit lead, 63-52, into the fourth quarter. Phoenix made 52.6 percent of its shots in the third quarter, while the Clippers were held to a 31.8 percent shooting performance.

Los Angeles made a push in the fourth with an 11-2 run that tied the game at 70 on a Mo Williams three-pointer with 3:59 left. But Gortat recorded the game's next four points to put the Suns on top for good.

Los Angeles stayed within two possessions for the remainder of the game and had a chance to tie at 74 with about a minute to go, but Griffin's driving layup attempt was too strong.

Paul later closed the gap to 77-75 with 26.5 seconds left on a wide open three from the top of the arc, but Dudley made two clutch free throws on the Suns' ensuing touch to seal the win.

"I thought we got a little stagnant with some our offensive stuff," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We made a push in the fourth quarter, but we just couldn't capitalize."

After an early 6-0 spurt by the Clippers put them ahead, 6-2, Steve Nash's three-pointer sparked an 11-0 run by the Suns to give them a 13-6 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.

Los Angeles, though, closed out the frame with a 15-4 run that gave the Clippers a 21-17 lead after one.

Shannon Brown's 17-footer was followed by a Robin Lopez dunk to close the gap to two, 23-21, almost three minutes into the second quarter, but the Clippers responded with a 10-1 swing to jump out to a double-digit lead, 33-22.

However, Los Angeles would not record another basket over the final five minutes of the half as Phoenix reeled of the game's next 10 points until a pair of Paul foul shots gave the Clippers a 35-32 advantage at the break.

Game Notes

Nash finished with six points, six assists and five rebounds...Phoenix has won 12 of its last 13 meetings with the Clippers...The Suns held a 52-46 advantage on the glass...Los Angeles outscored Phoenix in the paint, 28-22...Phoenix finished the game shooting 35 percent, while the Clippers shot 36.8 percent.