Five Takeaways, Clippers Fall at Utah, Despite Historic Night from Williams
SALT LAKE CITY — The Clippers’ (23-22) six-game win streak ends with a 125-113 loss to the Jazz (19-27), despite guard Lou Williams making history.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers ‘loss:
1) Williams and Clippers nearly steal victory —
As the Clippers inched back to within seven after once facing a 25-point deficit, Lou Williams recorded one of the most unique double-doubles in league history, with 31 points and 10 steals. His 10 steals breaks the Clippers’ franchise record once held by Doc Rivers, which he did in 1991 (in only 18 minutes). Williams is the fourth player since steals were first recorded in 1973 to post a 30-point, 10-steal night in the regular season, joining Michael Jordan, Gus Williams and Alvin Robertson. It was the most steals by a player in a game this season. He also led the Clippers with 7 assists, and is the only player since 1973-74 to tally 30+ points, 10+ steals and 7+ assists in a game.
31p/2r/7a/10s | @TeamLou23 becomes the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to record a game of 30+ points and 10+ steals.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 21, 2018
In the fourth quarter, Williams was at his best, logging 9 points with 3 steals. The Clippers got as close as seven points, but couldn’t stop Utah’s offense enough to swing the tide. Blake Griffin finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Tyrone Wallace was the only other starter to score in double figures, finishing with 12.
2) Johnson streaking —
Over the past five games, Wesley Johnson has been playing his best basketball in his career as a Clipper. Tonight, he scored 17 points, the fifth straight game he’s scored in double digits, his longest streak in three seasons with the team, while also collecting 8 rebounds. Over the stretch, Johnson has averaged 13.8 points per game and 6.4 rebounds off the bench.
Along with Johnson off the bench, Montrezl Harrell had his least productive scoring night in six games, putting up 7 points. Jawun Evans did not score on the night, but his 3 steals were crucial during the Clippers’ attempt at a comeback.
3) First-half struggles —
The Utah Jazz scored 39 points in the opening quarter, with the offense doing anything it wanted. They pushed the tempo, scoring 9 points on the break. Ricky Rubio ran the offense for Utah, and either scored himself or completed the pass leading to the easy bucket, as the guard totaled 7 points and 4 assists in the opening quarter.
The second quarter didn’t improve for the Clippers, as the Jazz scored 37 points. Their 76 points total in the first-half was a season-high for Utah and the most allowed by the Clippers in a first half since 2009. The Jazz shot 62-percent from the field, including 46-percent from deep. Derrick Favors led the Jazz in scoring at the time with 14 points, and Joe Ingles was second was 13.
Ingles finished with a season-high 21 points while Favors never scored again. Donovan Mitchell was the best player on the Jazz, leading the team with 23 points and 7 assists.
4) Gobert back —
Rudy Gobert played in his second game back since returning from injury, and without DeAndre Jordan, the Jazz towered over the Clippers, grabbing 22 more rebounds than them. The Jazz scored 15 points on second-chance opportunities, shooting 70 percent on such chances.
Gobert scored 16 points, secured 7 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots. With the second unit, the Jazz posted up oversized guard Joe Johnson repeatedly, which the Clippers doubled. The Jazz team passing proved too quick for the Clippers’ defense, with 21 assists on 46 buckets.
5) Playoff look-in —
Following the loss, the Clippers sit in the 8th seed for the Western Conference, only a half game ahead of the Denver Nuggets, who have one more loss and the same amount of wins. The Clippers are a full game back of both the Pelicans and the Trail Blazers, who control the 6th and 7th seeds.
The Jazz are 9th in the Western Conference, 4.5 games behind the Clippers.
What’s Next? — The Clippers return home Monday to play the Timberwolves at 7:30 PST.