The Phoenix Suns and Channing Frye had a most forgettable first half Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, the top team in the Pacific Division. But they managed to overcome CP3, Blake Griffin and the rest of that ultra-chic Lob City thing for an uplifting 81-78 win at the US Airways Center.
A loose-ball foul on Griffin with 38.4 seconds left to play -- just before a certain shot-clock violation -- helped save the Suns as Steve Nash calmly sank both free throws to give the Suns the points needed to secure the victory. The call was reviewed and went the Suns' way.
Marcin Gortat swatted away a follow by the Clips' Caron Butler after the free throws, and Frye, who was 0-for-10 in the first half, hit a free throw he earned with good defense at the other end on Griffin prior to the block.
Chris Paul (CP3) hit a 3-pointer with 26.5 seconds left to cut the Suns' lead to 77-75, but after a wild sequence in which the Clippers miraculously managed not to foul Nash -- though he was clearly hacked -- Jared Dudley made two free throws with 13.3 seconds. Grant Hill blocked a three from Paul and took off down the court for the clinching dunk.
The Suns (16-20) trailed 35-32 at halftime, their lowest point total of any half this season, and made only 13 of 45 shot attempts. They turned things around in the third quarter and had to hold on at the end.
A 31-point third quarter gave the Suns a 63-52 lead going into the fourth. But the Clippers rallied to tie the score at 70 with 3:59 to play on Mo Williams' three.
The Suns were the better defensive team down the stretch, forcing the Clips into some difficult shots. Dudley finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, Gortat 18 and 14 boards and Frye only six points but 14 rebounds.
Griffin and Paul were a combined 12-for-34 from the field on the second of back-to-back games for L.A.