Five Takeaways: Utah Jazz catch fire late and come back to beat Clippers, 114-108
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers (40-27) fell to the Utah Jazz (42-24), 114-108 to snap the team’s two-game winning streak and their nine-game run in Utah.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ defeat.
Jazz second half blitz breaks Clippers’ hearts – The Clippers were nearly flawless in the first two quarters on Monday, but in the final half, Los Angeles’ luck ran out. The Jazz caught fire in the third quarter with a season-high 40-point showing in the period that erased the Clippers’ half-time lead and gave Utah an 89-86 advantage heading into the final stanza. The Jazz relied on their shooting from beyond the arc to lead the rally, hitting 11 of 12 three-point attempts in the second half including nine consecutive at one point. The Clippers now hold a 4-20 record when trailing after three quarters.
2) Utah keeps the Clippers at bay in the race for fourth seed– The Clippers missed a significant opportunity to capture the season series over the Jazz after a second-half collapse saw Utah earn the win. With the loss, the Clippers fall to two games behind the Jazz in the standings for the all-important fourth seed in the Western Conference. As the Clippers look to climb the standings, all attention will now fall on the two teams next meeting on March 25 at Staples Center.
3)Blake Griffin struggles in the defeat – Blake Griffin has led the way for the Clippers in the past against the Jazz, but he fell silent on Monday. Griffin put forth one of his leaner nights offensively ending the game with just six points over 3 for 8 from the field. Jazz star Gordon Hayward’s defense seemed to bottle up the Clippers’ big man, and as Griffin found his scoring touch go cold, Hayward ignited tallying a team-high 27 points for Utah.
4)Chris Paul masterful, but it wasn’t enough – Chris Paul is finding his rhythm, and that’s bad news for the rest of the NBA, even if the Clippers couldn’t get the win on Monday. Paul helped the Clippers break through a Jazz defense that ranked among the best in league as Los Angeles forced the home team into a high-tempo contest early on. Paul set the pace from the start with 16 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the first quarter. As the game wore on, Paul kept the Clippers in contention helping them rally late in the fourth quarter and ended the game with a season-high 33 points in his second consecutive 30-point game.
5) Jazz dominate the glass in win – Utah’s impressive scoring clip in the second half will draw the headlines, but the Jazz also held a wide 42 to 28 rebounding advantage against Doc Rivers’ team on the night. Rivers has been stressing the importance of winning the ball off the glass as of late, but he refused to make it a reason for the late collapse on Monday.
“It was a lot of loose balls. It was a 50/50 game. I thought in the first half, they got every 50/50 ball, and I felt like if we got half of those, then we’d have been up by 14 or 16,” Rivers said. “Instead, they got them, and it was a six-point to eight-point game. I thought that was a big difference in the first half. Second half, we missed a lot of shots, so they got a lot of defensive rebounds.”
What’s Next? - The Clippers return home to Staples Center to host the Milwaukee Bucks (32-34) on Wednesday.