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The Roundup—Jazz 114, Clippers 108
Playing in front of a raucous home crowd, the Utah Jazz showed some second-half swagger as they took down the LA Clippers 114-108 Monday night.
The Jazz (42-25) trailed 56-49 at the half, but a 40-point third quarter paved the way for a much-needed victory.
"Thank you guys. You were huge for us," Gordon Hayward told the crowd (as they gave him a standing ovation) on the court after the game. "[The fans] are always here for us. That's why we love them. We needed this game. We got killed by LA last time, in our building, so we wanted to come out here and play well—and we did that tonight."
Hayward led the way with 27 points, while George Hill added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Jazz in the win.
Joe Ingles (18 points, three 3-pointers), Joe Johnson (14 points, several clutch second-half shots) and Rudy Gobert (11 points, 10 rebounds, one block) also scored in double figures for the Jazz.
LA's Chris Paul scored 16 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter, while J.J. Redick added 16 points in the loss for the Clippers (40-27). The Jazz held Blake Griffin to only eight points on 3-for-8 shooting.
Hayward was phenomenal tonight, battling through LA's physical defense to shoot 9-for-18 from the field (including 5-for-7 from 3-point range). He sank contested fadeaways in the paint; showed off his sweet mid-range game; and was on fire from outside as he led the Jazz to the victory against the team directly behind them in the standings. Hayward added three rebounds and four assists, and he became the first Jazz player in 10 years to log 23 games with 25+ points in one season (Carlos Boozer did it in 2006-07).
LA maintained control of the game until midway through the third quarter, when Hill sank a three and Hayward made two buckets to close the gap. A 3-pointer by Ingles pulled Utah within one, then Johnson drilled a jumper to give the Jazz their first lead since midway through the first quarter. Danté Exum drove hard to the rim, was hammered, and took a nasty fall—but he hopped back up and sank two free throws. After two buckets by LA's Jamal Crawford tied the game, Exum took a pass from Johnson and hit nothing but net on a corner three to give Utah a momentum boost heading into the fourth quarter.
The Jazz kept things rolling in the final period, scoring the first five points (on a layup by Jeff Withey and a 3-pointer by Johnson) before Exum and Hayward drilled back-to-back threes to push Utah's lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Clippers came back to cut Utah's lead to four with 2:03 left in the game, but the Jazz responded with three more big buckets. Rodney Hood hit a runner, and then Johnson ended LA's comeback attempt with a baseline floater and an off-balance three that gave Utah a nine-point lead with 22.7 seconds left.
The Jazz went off from 3-point range in the second half, shooting a scorching 91.7 percent (11-for-12) from deep in the final two quarters. Hayward, Hill, Ingles, Johnson and Exum each made two, while Boris Diaw connected on his first 3-pointer since January 24. He had gone 0-for-15 from long range over that stretch.
The Jazz took good care of the ball, committing only nine turnovers—far below their season average of 13.2—which resulted in seven LA points. On average, the Clippers force nearly 13 turnovers per game.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"LA's been one of the top teams in the NBA for a while ... so for us to be in a position to compete is part of the process for our team. We haven't done anything yet. We won a game tonight, but there are a lot more games and we have to play a lot more good teams. So hopefully we can grow from this."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
The Jazz outrebounded LA 42-28. ... The Clippers shot 58.3 percent from the field in the first half, but only 42.9 percent in the second half. The Jazz were the opposite—they shot 44.4 percent in the first half and a red-hot 63.6 percent in the second half. ... Derrick Favors (knee) missed his second straight game. Shelvin Mack (ankle) was also out for the Jazz. ... Gobert and Paul each picked up a technical foul in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz will begin a four-game road trip when they face the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. MT, and the game will be televised on ROOT SPORTS.