The Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns met for the first time since meeting last year in the Western Conference finals.
Marcus Morris recorded season highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds, enabling the Clippers to win their fourth straight game while routing the Suns 111-95 on Monday night at Staples Center.
Los Angeles improved to 16-12 on the season, while Phoenix dropped to 21-5.
“You’ve got to give them all the credit,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said. “When guys go out, we do a good job of stepping up… Our whole team does a good job of chipping in.”
The Clippers productively saw six players finish in double figures, spreading the ball around while they were without their two stars in Paul George (Elbow) and Kawhi Leonard (ACL).
Reggie Jackson finished with 19 points, Terance Mann had 17 and Luke Kennard added 16 for the Clippers.
The Suns were also without two of its franchise players in Deandre Ayton (Non-Covid Illness) and Devin Booker (Hamstring).
Cam Johnson led the Suns with 17 points off the bench, Mikal Bridges added 16 and Chris Paul finished with only nine points and eight assists.
“Against [Paul], we tried to slow him down and give him different looks,” Lue said. “To slow him down a little bit was huge for us.”
The Clippers led 56-44 at halftime and never saw their lead threatened in the second half as well.
“Undermanned, but we still had a chance,” said Suns coach Monty Williams.
Los Angeles held Phoenix to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor and 24.1 percent from three-point distance, while also holding a 58-46 advantage in points in the paint.
“We had 10 guys tonight. We fought, didn’t make shots but you know we competed and that’s all you can ask for,” Paul said.
Morris extended the Clippers lead to 70-56 with 5:28 remaining in the third after converting a jump shot.
“It’s my 11th season, I understand personnel. I understand game by game what’s my roll,” Morris said.
The Clippers then went on to outscore the Suns 15-6 to start the fourth, seeing their lead balloon to a 19-point advantage.
During the spurt, Isaiah Hartenstein, who finished with 12 points, made a jump shot, Kennard buried a three-pointer and Mann ended a fast break with a dunk to give Los Angeles a commanding 92-73 lead to put the game away with seven minutes remaining.
“It’s a good win, we’ve got to keep it going,” said Ivica Zubac, who finished with eight points, four blocks and two steals.
The Clippers will next travel to take on the Utah Jazz (19-7) on Wednesday night at Vivint Arena.
“It’s going to be another dog fight. Should be fun,” Morris said.