|7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 PM CT1:00 , October 26, 2019
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona Attendance: 15,802
Clippers look to roll without George vs. Suns
The Los Angeles Clippers have managed just fine in the short-term absence of six-time All-Star forward Paul George, who is expected to miss several more weeks while recovering from offseason surgeries on both shoulders.
The Phoenix Suns can only hope the long-term loss of center Deandre Ayton will be similarly smooth.
The Suns will play host to the Clippers on Saturday in their second game without Ayton, whose 25-game suspension for violating the NBA/NBPA anti-drug program was announced Thursday. He tested positive for a banned diuretic.
Offseason acquisitions Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky handled the center position ably in the Suns' first game without Ayton, a 108-107 overtime loss in Denver on Friday. Baynes started and had 15 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes before fouling out in overtime. Kaminsky had 19 points and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes while also playing some power forward.
Ricky Rubio sent the game into overtime when he made three free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but Torrey Craig blocked Devin Booker's driving layup in the last second of overtime to seal the victory.
Ayton called his violation "an unintentional mistake. Unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of ... I am deeply sorry. I'm extremely disappointed that I've let my team down."
The Clippers have won the last 12 games in the series and the last six in Phoenix.
They opened the season with consecutive victories over the Lakers and Golden State, two of the top Western Conference contenders, behind Kawhi Leonard and a bench led by Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams.
The Clippers had seven players in double figures in their 141-122 victory at the Warriors on Thursday. They shot 62.5 percent from the field and limited the Warriors to 39.4 percent.
"We're scoring points, but we're getting stops, and that allows to score points," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Guys are playing inside their roles. They understand who they are."
Leonard had 30 points against the Lakers and 21 points and nine assists against a double-teaming Warriors' defense. Leonard has 51 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds while averaging only 26.5 minutes a game in the first two.
"It just shows the trust he has in his teammates," Rivers said of Leonard's passing game. "You love that. I thought he started it doing about the second round (of the playoffs) last year. In the first round he was just dominating. As each round went on, he started playmaking more and more.
"What he's doing with us is even another level. You can tell that is something he focused on over the summer."
Clippers 7-foot center Ivica Zubac had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes against the Warriors. Zubac was signed to replace Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic in the middle.
Ayton, Booker and Rubio had double-doubles in the Suns' season-opening victory over Sacramento on Wednesday, an emotional time for Suns coach Monty Williams, who experienced his first game as a head coach since his wife was killed in an automobile accident in 2016.
"First time I've done this without Ingrid, and that was just different," Williams said of winning as a head coach. "A lot of emotions. A lot of good stuff. So thankful my kids were here tonight for the whole game."
--Field Level Media
Updated October 26, 2019