SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—The Utah Jazz knew the end of their three-game losing streak may have come too late.
The Jazz ended the skid with a 106-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, keeping alive their slim hopes of climbing out of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
“We just needed a win,” said Deron Williams, who had 17 points and nine assists. “I don’t care who it was against or how many points, we just needed a win.”
Utah closes the regular season Tuesday night on the road against the top-seeded Lakers, the team the Jazz will face in the first round of the playoffs if they can’t catch Dallas or New Orleans.
Utah still trails the Mavericks and Hornets by a game, so needs a win and help to avoid a return trip to Los Angeles this weekend.
“We put ourselves in that position,” Williams said. “We had some ballgames where we should have won.”
“For us to have a chance to win, we’ve got to play defense like we did tonight,” Boozer said. “We hustled out there. We dove for loose balls. We were scrappy.”
It was almost an ideal night for the Jazz, who got half the help they needed when New Orleans lost to Houston, dropping the Hornets into a tie with Dallas for the No. 6 seed. The Mavericks nearly helped out Utah, too, before beating Minnesota on a last-second shot.
The Jazz had lost their last two at home to Minnesota and Golden State. Utah pulled ahead to a big lead Monday and was able to hang on to it this time.
“We committed too many turnovers—turnovers that led them into a bunch of easy baskets,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “They crushed us on the boards. That’s the story of the game.”
Marcus Camby had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost eight of nine.
The Clippers opened the fourth quarter on a 9-1 run, which would have been 10-1 but a 23-foot jumper by Mike Taylor initially called a 3-pointer was overturned on review. That was as close as Utah let this one get. Boozer hit a jumper, then tipped in a miss by Williams, and Kyle Korver followed with a 3-pointer to put the Jazz up 91-73 with 8:29 left in the game.
The Jazz led by 13 at halftime and slowly pulled away in the third quarter, which was a little sloppy and a lot physical.
Los Angeles’ Baron Davis knocked Matt Harpring to the court after the two had been bumping under the basket. Both players were called for fouls and Davis received a technical as well. Davis had some words for Harpring before he could get on his feet but was quickly pulled away from the crowd of players who gathered after the commotion.
Williams put Utah up 67-50 on the free throw for the technical, which Jazz fans felt was insufficient punishment. Utah fans wanted Davis to be ejected and booed him whenever he touched the ball the rest of the game.
Later in the period, Camby’s drive through the lane was abruptly halted in a collision with Jarron Collins. Collins was called for the foul and Camby needed a few moments to get up after the whistle. Both teams had eight fouls in the period, which featured 20 free throws.
Utah C Mehmet Okur left the game at halftime with a strained right hamstring and did not return. … Jazz fans were booing early when the Clippers scored 11 straight to pull ahead 13-8, but Utah responded with a 13-0 run after a timeout and took a 30-17 lead into the second quarter. … The Clippers were just 10-for-18 from the foul line.