Notebook: Clippers 116, Jazz 114

Posted Dec 29, 2012 1:20 AM

By Andrew Aragon, For

THE FACTS: Not a brutal stretch in the schedule, or a motivated team in a tough place to play, or a double-digit deficit could stop the Los Angeles Clippers' franchise-record winning streak on Friday night as the Clippers, playing their third game in four nights, defeated the Utah Jazz 116-114 to record their 16th straight victory.

Of course, it helps to have Chris Paul as well. Paul sank two free throws following a silly reach-in foul by Al Jefferson with 3.7 seconds remaining to give Los Angeles (24-6) its winning margin.

Paul had 29 points and six assists to lead the Clippers in a game that closely resembled the last time the two teams played in Utah. Los Angeles overcame a 19-point second-half deficit to beat the Jazz (15-16) on Friday night. The Clippers rallied from 14 down to beat Utah on Dec. 3.

Randy Foye scored a season-high 28 points for the slumping Jazz, who have lost three straight home games and six of eight overall. Foye took the last shot for Utah, a 3-pointer that was tightly contested by Matt Barnes as time expired.

QUOTABLE: "We just got stops, defensively. They were hitting shots, we got stops and then we started hitting shots. Everything is going to balance out. Some nights you are not going to have it all four quarters. You might have it one or two and you have to make the most out of it and that is what we did."

--Clippers forward Blake Griffin

THE STAT: It was fitting that the game-deciding points were scored at the free-throw line. The game was more like a wrestling match and the officials called it closely on both sides. The two teams combined to commit 61 fouls and shoot 81 free throws.

TURNING POINT: Down 106-102 after Utah's Jamaal Tinsley sank a 3-pointer, the Clippers rallied and went ahead with a 7-0 run. Paul made two free throws, and DeAndre Jordan followed with a three-point play to put Los Angeles ahead 107-106. Andre was fouled by Paul Millsap, and banked in his free throw. Jamal Crawford then made a layup to give the Clippers a 109-106 lead, and Los Angeles was then able to hold off Utah with stellar defense. The Jazz made just one basket -- a jumper by Jefferson -- in the game's final four minutes.

HOT: After falling behind by 19 points in the third quarter, the Clippers got serious -- and started scorching the nets. They made eight of their last nine shots, and shot 61.1 percent in the third period. They outscored Utah 29-14 in the last eight minutes of the quarter. Paul led the way, scoring 13 of the team's 36 points. Jordan shot 6-for-8 and scored 16 points. Griffin shot 7-for-10 and had 22 points and 13 rebounds. Gordon Hayward had 17 points off the bench for Utah, with 11 of them coming at the free-throw line.

NOT: Crawford is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but his shot was off against the Jazz. He shot just 3-for-11 and finished with 12 points. For the Jazz, Derrick Favors missed some close-range looks and shot just 2-for-7.

QUOTABLE II: "When [Jordan] came to give me the ball screen, I wasn't worried about Hayward, I was just worried about Al Jefferson. I could tell [Jefferson] was going to try and blitz me. Any time two guys try and trap me, I'm always going to attack the slower guy. If they wouldn't have called the foul, I was right around [Jefferson] anyway."

--Clippers guard Chris Paul on the game's final play

GOOD MOVE: Los Angeles refused to be satisfied after winning 15 straight games. They fought back tonight, though, and got back in the game by guarding the Jazz. After weathering a desperate Utah team's storm, the Clippers settled in during the game's last 20 minutes and got stops. They held the Jazz to 40 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. It's the type of defense L.A. has played throughout its 16-game winning streak.

BAD MOVE: Jefferson's foul on Paul with 3.7 seconds remaining was ridiculous. Jefferson saw that the pick-and-roll, a play he has tremendous difficulty defending, was coming and jumped it quick. As Paul was driving past him and Hayward, who was screened by Jordan, Jefferson reached in and fouled Paul. Instead of forcing Paul to hit a jumper in the final seconds, he made it easy on him and put him on the free-throw line. It wasn't a smart basketball play at that point in the game.

NOTABLE: The Clippers have allowed only one opponent -- the Jazz -- to score more than 100 points during their 16-game winning streak. Utah has done it twice after scoring 104 points against Los Angeles on Dec. 3. The Clippers have defeated the Jazz three straight times in Utah. It is the first time that's happened since 1979-81 when the Clippers were in San Diego. The Clippers have won seven straight road games, which is also a franchise record.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Sunday vs. Jazz, Tuesday @ Denver, Wednesday @ Golden State. For the Jazz, Sunday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Timberwolves, Friday @ Phoenix.