Clippers beat Suns 121-120 in OT on Griffin's 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) Blake Griffin stepped back and lofted a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim. Everyone in the arena was spellbound, watching the ball go straight up before it dropped through at the buzzer, stunning the Phoenix Suns and the crowd.
Griffin took off running and his teammates leaped in celebration of a 121-120 overtime victory Monday night, their eighth in a row.
''When I shot it, I thought it was off, short, flat,'' Griffin said, ''but I got a lucky bounce.''
Griffin finished with a season-high 45 points - two off his career high - while making 15 of 17 free throws.
''He was the big cat tonight,'' said teammate J.J. Redick, who added 17 points.
Chris Paul had 20 points and 10 assists, and DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 14 rebounds in a game featuring rat-a-tat offense from both teams.
Griffin's buzzer-beater exhilarated his teammates.
''I feel like I hit the shot,'' Jordan said, smiling. ''I held my breath until it went all the way through the basket. After it hit the rim and went up, I knew it was going in. I felt the basketball gods were on our side.''
Redick wasn't so sure.
''I thought it was an airball when he shot it,'' he said. ''It was one time all season when I'll go to the offensive glass.''
Eric Bledsoe had a triple-double of 27 points, a career-high 16 assists and 11 rebounds for the Suns.
''I'm mad we didn't get the `W,''' he said. ''Stats don't mean nothing. At the end of the day, I go out there to play the game the right way.''
Markieff Morris scored 21 points, including back-to-back 3s in overtime that rallied the Suns from a two-point deficit to a four-point lead.
Goran Dragic added 17 points for the Suns, who had six players in double figures. Bledsoe tied his career high in rebounds against his former team. The Suns lost their second straight and fourth in six games.
In the 5-minute extra session, Morris hit a wide-open 3 that put the Suns ahead 117-116, after Griffin scored the Clippers' first four points.
Bledsoe was called for goaltending, leading to a basket by Redick that left the Clippers trailing 120-118. The Suns committed a shot-clock violation with 5 seconds to go, setting up Griffin's game-winner from the right wing.
''He's a great player and that's what great players do,'' Bledsoe said. ''He's doing a hell of a job.''
Bledsoe's 3-pointer drew the Suns within one with 2:01 left in regulation before Paul answered with a step-back jumper that kept Los Angeles ahead, 112-109.
Morris hit a jump hook to draw the Suns within one and then Matt Barnes was called for a foul away from the ball, putting Gerald Green at the line. He made a shot to tie the game at 112 with 27 seconds left.
Bledsoe missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds to go and Green lost the offensive rebound out of bounds near the Clippers' bench. Paul dribbled around and put up the potential winning shot only to have it blocked by Bledsoe, forcing overtime.
''I knew he was going to try to throw a floater up, so I just tried to contest it,'' Bledsoe said.
It was the Clippers' closest game after winning their last five by an average of 21.4 points.
''As far as wins, this was better than all of them (the previous five) because this was one we clearly could have lost,'' coach Doc Rivers said.
The fourth quarter bogged down when Jamal Crawford was called for a loose ball foul after getting tangled with Bledsoe at midcourt and then saying something to referee Mark Lindsay, who hit him with a technical and his first career ejection.
Rivers got a tech for arguing the call, which was confirmed after a video review.
''There was a lot of complaining by both head coaches, by all the players, and that's why I was so surprised by the ejection,'' Rivers said. ''Jamal's probably the most soft-spoken guy of all of them, and he's the one that gets it.''
Rivers said Crawford apologized after the game, but he didn't stick around to talk to reporters.
''That was the craziest ejection I've ever seen,'' Griffin said. ''I heard a guy say worse things tonight.''
Griffin ran off nine points in a row in the third, when the Clippers built a 12-point lead - their largest of the game. His fast-break dunk in the first left Suns coach Jeff Hornacek shaking his head on the sideline.
Suns: Phoenix had no offensive rebounds in the first half against a team that is averaging the fewest in the league. ... G Isaiah Thomas (bruised right ankle) sat out.
Clippers: The guard trio of Jordan Farmar (back spasms), Reggie Bullock (right ankle sprain) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (sore right Achilles) remained out. ... Julius Erving attended the game.
Suns: Host Miami on Tuesday.
Clippers: At Indiana on Wednesday.