Game #67 | March 14, 2014
EnergySolutions Arena | Salt Lake City, UT
SALT LAKE CITY – Sometimes winning can be contagious.
When a team has strung together multiple victories in a row, even games they seemingly should lose turn around.
That happened Friday night for the Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena.
After trailing by as many as 13 points to Jazz, scoring fewer first half points than they had in more than a month, and looking as though their force of will was left in Los Angeles, they rallied back behind a gritty performance by Chris Paul and a destructive run in the late third and early fourth quarters, winning, 96-87.
It was the tenth win a row for the Clippers (47-20) and moved them to within two games of the Oklahoma City Thunder for No. 2 in the Western Conference.
“Everybody right now is jockeying for position,” Paul said. “So, for us it’s not even about the streak it’s just playing the right way. Every game you’re not come out and be up 15, or up 20 and stuff. We’re trying to become a better team on the road and I think this showed a lot of growth for us.”
Paul, who played through a slight left ankle sprain after stepping awkwardly on the basket stanchion following a fast-break layup, scored 18 points with seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. He also engineered the 25-4 run that altered the game and preserved the winning streak.
“We played defense in the second half,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “They scored 36 points in the second half. They had 33 in the first quarter.”
The Jazz (22-44) shot just 40.5 percent in the second half and committed nine of their 20 turnovers which led to 31 points. Twelve of those miscues came off of Clippers’ steals, and once they got going defensively everything else seemed to fall into place.
“Our offense really feeds off of our defense,” Paul said. “We’re tough to guard in transition.”
They outscored Utah, 31-7, in fast-break points, something that characterized the run.
Paul made a jumper to give the Clippers their first lead more than 30 minutes into the game and ultimately carried them to an 11-point advantage midway through the fourth. And it was all commanded by Paul, who scored or assisted on six of eight baskets as the Clippers closed the third quarter scoring 17 of the final 19 points. Griffin capped the run with a soaring follow dunk over Gordon Hayward that put the Clippers up, 85-74.
Griffin finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Matt Barnes had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Darren Collison had 14 points and four assists. Willie Green scored 12 points, including going 3-for-6 from 3-point range. And DeAndre Jordan scored nine points with 10 rebounds and two steals.
“Towards the end of the third quarter, we got some steals and Willie hit some big shots,” Collison said.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game all along and we just stayed with it.”
The Jazz outshot the Clippers, by nearly 21 percent in the first quarter, and led by as many as 13. It was the third time in three meetings this season that Utah has led the Clippers at the end of the first.
The Clippers got back in the game midway through the second stringing together a 10-3 run, including back-to-back fast-break baskets off steals. Collison tipped the ball ahead to Barnes who lobbed it to a trailing Griffin for an alley-oop and Paul finished off another Collison steal with a layup that led to a Jazz timeout with the Clippers within two. But Utah promptly answered with eight consecutive points and took a 51-43 lead into halftime.
They maintained a 10-point lead until the 4:15 mark of the third when Barnes sliced to the basket for a layup and Green nailed a 3-pointer to make it 70-65. The Jazz would never recover.
Collison said the defensive energy is what changed the game.
“It was energy and the ability to get over a slow start,” Collison said. “You’re going to have games like that but you’ve got to be able to find a way to win the game.”
And when you are rolling off wins, it seems like that is easier to do. Even if the third longest streak in franchise history is something of an afterthought.
“I honestly until three or four games ago didn’t even realize we had a streak going,” Rivers said. “I don’t think our guys really focus on the streak. I don’t think I’ve heard one guy talk about it.
“It’s not what we’re focused on. You don’t get anything from winning 10 in a row or nine in a row or 11. You get zero. You get a pat on your back and you have to go play the next game.”
The Clippers have won four games in a row at Utah and their nine-game winning streak overall against the Jazz is their longest active streak against any opponent… It was the fewest points scored during the 10-game winning streak… Griffin scored 20 points or more for the 25th time in a row… Paul passed Mookie Blaylock for No. 30 on the career assists list... The Clippers are 19-15 on the road and could match the franchise record for road victories with wins in five of their last seven road games… Trey Burke and Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 18 points apiece… The Clippers moved to 28-0 when they make at least nine 3-pointers. They were 9-for-23 on Friday…
Doc Rivers – Head Coach
On the difference in the game
“We played defense in the second half. I don’t know off my head, but I think (they scored) 36 points in the second half. They had 33 in the first quarter. Just our defensive energy. I thought our bench really came in in the middle of the third (quarter) and just upped our defense. Baby (Glen Davis) and that whole group with DJ (DeAndre Jordan) out there. And I thought Chris (Paul) started being more aggressive. I think sometimes he wants to do the point guard, and tonight we needed his scoring. I thought he did a great job of that in the second half as well.”
On the matchup versus Utah on paper
“We’re just trying to win. If we win by one or 30 or two points, I’m good with that. Every game is a game, an individual game, and there’s a lot of pros on that team as well. Our job is to win the game.”
Blake Griffin - Forward (20 points, 5 rebounds)
On the second half
“It was definitely a defensive thing. The first half they were all over us. They got what they wanted. They ran their offense, they executed and did everything that they probably been training to do. It was good that we showed up a little bit, but disappointing that we played that way for most of the game.”
On Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter
“They are good, they are physical guys. They can both finish. They can both provide what they need inside. They are still young, so they are still getting better. The sky is the limit for those guys.”
Chris Paul – Guard (18 points, 7 assists)
On the ankle injury
“It was the freakiest thing ever. I laid it up, nobody was around me; I landed and my foot was on the extension.”
On the comeback
“Find a way. We talked about it at halftime. It is not going to be pretty every night. We just try to stay the course and find a way to win.”
On winning tough games going into the playoffs
“Everyone is jockeying for position here and there. It is not even about the (current winning) streak. It’s about playing the right way. Every game you are not going to come out and be up 15 or 20. We are trying to become a better team on the road. I think this showed a lot of growth for us. Not yelling at each other and finding a way.”
Chris Paul Postgame - 3/14/14Chris Paul addresses the media following the win in Utah.
Blake Griffin Postgame - 3/14/14Griffin's postgame comments from Utah.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 3/14/14Doc Rivers' postgame comments following the win vs. the Jazz.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/14/14Rivers talks about Blake Griffin, the Clippers' lineup moving forward and more before tonight's game in Utah.
LACtv Preview: Clippers at JazzThe Clippers look to extend their league-best winning streak to 10 tonight in Salt Lake City.
Darren Collison Pregame - 3/14/14Darren Collison talks about his defense playing off the ball alongside Chris Paul and more before shootaround in Utah.
CLIP SESSION EP 21The top Clippers highlights from the past week
Thursday Throwdown 3/13/14The best Clippers dunk of the week.
Griffin Powers The Clippers Over The DubsBlake Griffin scores 30 points with 15 rebounds as Danny Granger settles in with 18 points as the Clippers beat the Warriors 111-98.
Blake's Amazing Follow JamBlake Griffin comes flying in for the spectacular slam
CP3 Doing Extra WorkUnsatisfied with his performance in the Clippers win, Chris Paul gets extra shots up postgame.
LACtv Postgame: Clippers vs WarriorsClippers even the season series with a win over Golden State.
Postgame: Blake Griffin & Danny Granger | 3/12/2014Blake Griffin & Danny Granger addresses the media after tonight's victory over the Warriors.
Postgame: Chris Paul | 3/12/2014Chris Paul addresses the media after tonight's victory over the Warriors.
Postgame: Doc Rivers | 3/12/2014Doc Rivers addresses the media after Wednesday's night's victory over the Warriors.
Euro GriffinBlake Griffin runs the break and euro steps in the lane for the layup.
Don't BiteJermaine O'Neal bites on Blake Griffin's jab-step and Griffin drives inside, hits the layup and draws the foul.
The Flying LionDanny Granger misses on the triple and Blake Griffin elevates higher than most and throws down the one-hand flush with force.
Warriors vs. Clippers: First halfDavid Lee scores 14 points with Klay Thompson adding 11 points as the Warriors lead the Clippers at the half 56-54.
Get BigDarren Collison misses on the jumper and DeAndre Jordan fighting for position hits the shot off the glass on the missed putback dunk attempt.
|Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Named to 2014 All-NBA Team June 04, 2014||Chris Paul All-Defensive First Team June 02, 2014||Spirit Dance Team: Clippers vs. Thunder | Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014||Game Action: Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014|
|Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 15, 2014||Game 5 | Clippers vs. Thunder | 5/13/2014 May 13, 2014|
|Sunday, March 16, 2014||6:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Saturday, March 22, 2014||7:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Monday, March 24, 2014||7:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Thursday, April 3, 2014||7:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Sunday, April 6, 2014||12:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Wednesday, April 9, 2014||7:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Saturday, April 12, 2014||12:30 PM||BUY NOW|
|Tuesday, April 15, 2014||7:30 PM||BUY NOW|
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
The Clippers make their only stop of the season in Salt Lake City on Friday night to play the Utah Jazz (22-43) at EnergySolutions Arena.
They have won the previous two matchups of the season against Utah, both at Staples Center, and have won eight in a row over in the series. They are also riding a season-best nine-game winning streak, which is already the third longest in franchise history. A win would give them the second longest streak in the NBA this season behind San Antonio and Portland, who both won 11 in a row in November. The Jazz have lost two in a row and seven of their last 10.
The Clippers (46-20) have 16 games remaining, the fewest in the NBA, and are 1.5 games ahead of the Houston Rockets for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
DEANDRE JORDAN VS. ENES KANTER
THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET
- A game after facing off against one of the league’s top ranked defenses, the Clippers take on the league’s worst. The Jazz allow 108.0 points per 100 possessions (30th). Curiously, the Clippers, the league’s highest scoring team and second best in terms of offensive efficiency behind the Heat, have struggled to score in their previous two meetings against the Jazz. They have just two quarters of 30 points or more, and were held to 19 or less in the first quarter of both meetings.
- Chris Paul has leap-frogged his way up the career assists ladder this season, jumping nine spots in 66 games. On Friday he has a chance to move up to No. 30 all-time. Paul is six assists away from passing Mookie Blaylock. By the end of the season, Paul could move as high as No. 29. Still, entering Friday with 5,967 assists, he remains 9,839 behind former Jazz great John Stockton for first all-time.
- Blake Griffin, who is sixth in the league in scoring and is riding a streak of 24 consecutive games of 20-plus points, leads the NBA in points in the paint. Overall, the paint could be a deciding factor. The Clippers allow 44.5 points per game inside (23rd), but the Jazz have not been able to take advantage. Utah has averaged just 29.0 points in the paint the previous two meetings against the Clippers. As for Griffin, he may have another high-scoring outing against the Jazz, inside or out. Utah is one of four teams in Griffin’s career that he has averaged 24.0 points or more against.
The Clippers have won eight in a row against the Jazz, including three straight at EnergySolutions Arena… The Clippers’ last game in Salt Lake City was the 16th game of their 17-game winning streak last season. They defeated the Jazz two nights later in L.A. to secure the longest streak in franchise history… Trey Burke is the first Jazz player since Karl Malone to score 20 points or more in at least 10 games during his rookie season… The Clippers are 18-15 on the road… While the Jazz own the worst record in the West, they are 14-18 at home, a place they average nearly 7.0 points per game more than they do on the road… Paul, Griffin and Jordan lead the NBA in combined double-doubles among three teammates…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Matt Barnes: “[Utah’s] just a tough place. They play better at home obviously and they’re a team that’s going to play hard for 48 minutes. So, we’ve got to go in there and match their intensity.”
Chris Paul: “[Doc Rivers] does a great job of just policing everything, everybody. There’s no one person bigger than the group. He’s on me, Blake and D.J. just as hard as he’s on Reggie Bullock or anyone else. He just keeps telling us it’s all about the process and we listen.”
LAC: Jamal Crawford (calf) is not expected to play. He’s sat out five of the past six games. J.J. Redick (back) will miss his 16th game in a row.
UTH: None reported
REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY
All Time: 67-98 (Home: 47-37, Road 20-61)
Road Streak: Won 3
Largest Margin of Victory:
LAST TIME OUT
Pts: Griffin 30