PHOENIX (AP) — A 17-point third-quarter lead was not enough for the Phoenix Suns, not the way the Los Angeles Clippers are playing these days.
Darren Collison and Blake Griffin scored 23 points apiece and the Clippers beat the Suns 112-108 Wednesday night, their fourth win in a row and 17th in the last 19 games.
Chris Paul added 20 points, including a 32-foot 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired to put the Clippers up for good 108-106 with 1:48 to play.
Los Angeles, winning the last four on a five-game trip, clinched the Pacific Division title with the win.
"It's nice but it doesn't really mean much," Paul said. "We won the division title last year and lost in the first round. Last year we would have gone into the game knowing we had a chance to win the division. Now we don't care, it's all about the bigger picture."
Eight Suns reached double figures, led by Marcus Morris with 16 points.
Phoenix would have been alone in the No. 7 spot in the West with a victory, just a half-game behind Golden State. Instead, the Suns fell into a three-way tie with Memphis and Dallas for the last two playoff spots in the West. Phoenix would lose the tiebreaker the way things stood Wednesday night.
The defeat followed a blowout loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday.
"We had this game almost in our pockets," Goran Dragic said. "But now is not the time to think like that, because we still have to have our confidence up to play those last seven games. "
The Suns used a 22-5 run to lead 91-74 with 1:49 left in the third period and were up 91-78 entering the fourth.
Griffin had been listed as doubtful for the game with back spasms.
Ex-Sun Jared Dudley made two free throws with 8.1 seconds to play to clinch the win.
Dragic and Gerald Green scored 15 points apiece for the Suns, but Dragic was just 2 of 11 from the field, 0 of 5 from 3-point range. P.J. Tucker, whose rebounding was a big factor in the Suns' third-quarter run, had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
With Griffin and Paul on the bench, the Clippers scored 11 in a row early in the fourth quarter — the last five by Willie Green — to cut Phoenix's lead to 92-85. Dudley's 3-pointer with 5:57 to go cut it to 97-94.
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