Game #11
EnergySolutions Arena | Salt Lake City, Utah
January 17, 2012 | 6:00 PM (PST)
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
17 24 18 20 79
29 23 26 30 108

The Clippers were a step slower than the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night and on the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back the results weren’t pretty.

Utah rode big nights from Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles to cruise past the Clippers, 108-79, at EnergySolutions Arena.

Without point guard Chris Paul (strained left hamstring) and key reserve Mo Williams (sore right foot), the Clippers, who are the sixth highest scoring team in the league, struggled to score the ball. They shot 36.5% from the field, scored fewer than 20 points in two quarters, and trailed by as many as 30 points in the fourth quarter.

It was the lowest scoring output of the year for L.A. as well as the fewest points of the year for power forward Blake Griffin, who managed just 10 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. Caron Butler scored a team-high 14 points and rookie point guard Courtney Fortson, who was called up from the NBA Development League on Sunday, added 13 points and four rebounds.

Still, the Clippers (7-4) were out-played for a majority of the game.

“I didn’t like our approach,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I didn’t like our focus. I didn’t like our toughness. I didn’t like our energy to start the game.”

Millsap continued his stellar play of late for the Jazz (9-4), scoring 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting with six rebounds. In the last five games he’s averaged 26.5 points on better than 60% from the field. Miles chipped in 19 off the bench.

“Utah got into a rhythm,” Del Negro said. “They were more physical than we were and we were playing catch-up the whole night.”

A slow start plagued the Clippers, playing only their fourth road game of the season. The offense was stagnant in the early stages, settling for long jumpers, while Utah pushed the ball off misses and turnovers. Griffin knocked down a 21-foot jumper from the top to tie the game at two, but the Jazz rumbled off the next nine points, including two layups by Millsap and a pull-up by Devin Harris (13 points, four assists) from the right side. Utah led 29-17 after the first quarter.

“The slow start’s on us,” guard Chauncey Billups said. “That’s on the starters.”

Billups, who’s played the last two games with tightness in his lower back, finished with 10 points and six assists and went 3-for-12 from the floor and 0-for-4 from 3-point range.

The Clippers cut the deficit below double digits several times in the third quarter. Butler converted a layup in traffic through Jazz forward Gordon Hayward to make it 55-47. And after Millsap made two free throws, Griffin threw down a follow-dunk off a missed runner by Randy Foye.

Another pair of free throws from Millsap and 3-ponter by Harris led to a timeout by Del Negro. And after Miles and Foye exchanged 3-pointers from the wing, the struggles from the perimeter re-emerged for the Clippers shortly thereafter. A put back layup by Jazz center Al Jefferson, gave the Jazz a 15-point advantage and they never looked back.

“I thought we made a little bit of a run in the second quarter,” Del Negro said. “In the third quarter, we got it to eight, turned it over a couple of times and gave up some easy baskets.”

Perhaps, the only benefit to such a decisive loss was that Del Negro was able to rest his starters for a majority of the fourth quarter. A night after a hard-fought battle with bullish Nets forward Kris Humphries, Griffin played a mere 27 minutes and every starter played fewer than 30 minutes, including DeAndre Jordan’s season-low 21.

Asked if the lopsided game would have an effect on the team moving forward, Billups said, “I already washed it off in the shower.”


The loss for the Clippers was their 16th in a row at EnergySolutions Arena. The last victory was 96-89 on Jan. 22, 2003… Teams are 5-8 this season in the middle game of a back-to-back-to-back… Forward Solomon Jones made a free throw with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, his first points with the Clippers… During two stretches of the game the Clippers featured a lineup with three rookies (Fortson, Trey Thompkins, and Travis Leslie), none of whom were first round draft picks… Jefferson recorded his sixth double-double for the Jazz with 10 points and 13 rebounds… Reggie Evans grabbed nine rebounds in 21 minutes. He has 54 rebounds in six games with the Clippers.

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