"Winning Sure Beats Losing" — 5 Things to Know Following Utah's Victory Over the LA Clippers

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

From one streak to another. 

After breaking their 13-game losing streak just 24 hours ago, the Jazz had an opportunity to start a new one on Friday night against the Clippers. Behind another impressive showing of depth, six players in double figures led Utah to another comeback victory, taking down the Clippers 110-109. 

Obviously the Clippers pulled the plug at some point on some of their starters. … But we’ve got a lot of young players on the court too,” head coach Will Hardy said. “Nobody has made any excuses for us when we’ve lost. … It’s an opportunity to go out and get a win. You play who is on the floor, and you play as hard as you can. … Our team on the second night of a back-to-back, I was really proud of them.”

“Winning sure beats losing.”

Here are five things to know following the win

1.) Another Comeback
After giving up 38 points to the Rockets and trailing by double digits at the end of one, Friday’s script was eerily similar. The Jazz gave up 38 points to the Clippers and trailed by 10 after the opening 12 minutes. 

But from that point on, the Jazz never lost another quarter. They responded by flipping the script in the second quarter, outscoring LA 34-22 as Kenny Lofton Jr. got cooking. He dropped 13 points over the final five minutes of the half, including a 5-of-5 showing from the free throw line. 

Utah then played the Clippers to a tie in the second half, using a late run in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. Following a 7-2 run that gave the Clippers a one-point lead with 3:11 remaining, the Jazz took control with a quick 6-0 run. Keyonte George got things going with a deep three from the top before Lofton’s and-one sealed the win. 

“These are guys who have not been playing a ton of heavy minutes (for us), so the back-to-back isn’t used to what they’re feeling. … But I thought everybody who went into the game tonight aided in the win,” Hardy said.

2.) Kenny is Krafty
Since he joined the team late in the season, Jazz Nation has been lobbying for more minutes for Lofton Jr — and he answered with one of the best games of his young career Friday night in LA. 

He came dangerously close to posting Utah’s second triple-double of the season, finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 35 minutes. He finished 10-of-16 from the floor and a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. Although he struggled from beyond the arc, Lofton’s blend of size, footwork, and vision was too much for the Clippers.

It was the second-highest scoring game of his NBA career. 

3.) Team Depth
Besides Lofton’s 27, five other Jazz players finished in double figures — three starters and two off the bench. George hit some big shots down the stretch to finish with 14, while Johnny Juzang and Luka Šamanić chipped in 12 and 11, respectively. Darius Bazley and Talen Horton-Tucker each scored 12 points off the bench, with Bazley adding five rebounds and Horton-Tucker chipping in four assists. Ömer Yurtseven finished with 10 rebounds.

Although the Jazz struggled from deep (6-for-35, 17.1%), they were aggressive elsewhere. They finished 35-for-53 from the floor, with Taylor Hendricks, Juzang, and Bazley combining to shoot 12-for-18.

“Proud of the guys,” Hardy said. “It’s hard to win back-to-back nights. We’ve struggled on the road this season. We played very hard for the second night in a row. … Imperfect at times, turnovers at times that were not ideal, but to go into the game on the road and shoot 6-for-35 from three and still win. … It speaks to the tenacity of the team tonight.”

4.) George Climbs the Record Books
Following his three-pointer with 2:25 left in the fourth quarter, which gave the Jazz the lead for good, George continued to climb the Utah record books. 

He finished 2-of-7 from beyond the arc, marking the 36th game this season in which he’s hit two or more threes in a game. He now sits second all-time for such games in a rookie season, behind Donovan Mitchell’s franchise record 53 games.

In contention for all-rookie honors, George continues to up his game late in the season. He has finished in double figures the past four games, averaging 17.3 points during that span.  

5.) One More
The Jazz will look to end their season on a three-game winning streak when they close the year in the Bay Area against the Warriors. With Golden State still battling for postseason positioning, there’s a good chance that Utah’s young players will be facing Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and co. in a game that means a great deal. 

Utah has won the last two games behind the strength of its bench. On Thursday, they scored 57 against Houston before dropping 52 in the win over the Clippers. Another performance will be needed to take down the Warriors.