PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Clippers are watching the scoreboard while taking care of their own business as the NBA regular season heads into its final two weeks.
Tobias Harris scored 27 points and the Clippers gained a little ground in the Western Conference playoff race with a 111-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
“What we keep saying is the biggest thing is for us to handle our business,” Harris said. “Really lock in on what we have to do. Everything will play itself out. We can’t play for other teams, we’ve got to play for us at this point.”
Harris had 15 points in the third quarter, and Los Angeles pulled away early in the fourth with an 18-0 run.
The Clippers (41-34) moved to a game out of the eighth playoff spot, one game behind the Jazz after Utah’s 97-94 loss to Boston.
“We have to let our defense really fuel our offense every single night,” Harris said.
Austin Rivers had 18 points and eight assists, and DeAndre Jordan added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who have won four of five.
Tyler Ulis led Phoenix with a season-high 23 points and rookie Josh Jackson added 18. Jackson has scored 15 or more points in eight straight games, but the Suns’ losing streak reached 13 games.
The Suns were without four injured players who get regular minutes: guards Devin Booker and Elfrid Payton, center Alex Len and forward T.J. Warren. Payton, who played in Monday’s loss to Boston, was ruled out before the game with knee tenderness.
Jordan reached 7,000 points for his 10-season career with a first-quarter dunk, his first points of the game. The first quarter saw eight ties and five lead changes, but the Suns ended it ahead 32-27 on a buzzer-beating 3 from Ulis.
Rivers’ 25-footer with a second left had the Clippers in front 58-56 at halftime.
The Clippers opened the third quarter on a 12-3 run, including Rivers’ layup with 8:03 left for a 68-59 Los Angeles lead.
“We’re trying to win every game to finish the season off, and wherever that puts us, that puts us,” Rivers said.
The Suns cut it to 80-76 after back-to-back 3s from Troy Daniels. Jackson dunked in transition to make it 85-82 going into the fourth quarter, but the Suns didn’t score until the 6:23 mark of the period and were held to 17 fourth-quarter points.
“They made some tough shots,” Ulis said. “Basketball is a game of runs, and we didn’t hit back.”
Clippers: Jordan is the eighth player in franchise history to score at least 7,000 career points. … F Danilo Gallinari (fracture in right hand) did not play, but could return Friday at Portland after having missed 56 games with injuries this season. … G Milos Teodosic did not play due to left foot soreness.
Suns: With Payton out, the Suns used their 32nd different starting lineup combination of the season. … F Jared Dudley appeared in his 465th career game as a Suns player, which tied him with Paul Westphal for 14th-most in franchise history. … Coach Jay Triano used all 11 available players for the game.
THORNWELL DOING WELL
Austin Rivers said rookie SinDarius Thornwell’s play was critical in the win. Thornwell had seven points and five rebounds in 22 minutes.
“SinDarius has been huge. His defensive rebounding has been incredible,” Rivers said. “Just his effort. Proud of him and his development.”
Suns guard Shaquille Harrison, who about a month ago was in the G League, played a career-high 31 minutes and scored a career-best 17 points.
“There’s a lot of people out there that want to be in my position, so I’m just trying to make the most of it that I can,” Harrison said.
Clippers: At Portland Friday.
Suns: At Houston on Friday.