Clippers wake up in time to rout JazzBy Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Feb 24, 2013 2:10 AM EST
LOS ANGELES -- For 24 minutes Saturday night, the Los Angeles Clippers played in a haze against the Utah Jazz, hung over from a season-worst 26-point loss to San Antonio two days before. Then the Clippers shook off the cobwebs and the headaches and the shackles dragging their ankles. By the time Blake Griffin drove past Al Jefferson, attempted a dunk but drew a foul and accidentally flung the ball into the hoop for the beginnings of a 3-point play, the Clippers were wide awake. So was Staples Center, electric after Griffin capped off a huge run as Los Angeles used a 14-0 spurt to open the second half and take control from the visiting Jazz in a 107-94 win on Saturday night at Staples Center. "I hope they wouldn't need (to use the San Antonio loss as motivation); obviously no one feels very good about that game the other night," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "But we did bounce back tonight. I was pleased with the way we played -- we had some fight, we had some passion, we had some enthusiasm." Two quarters into the matchup, it appeared the Clippers were still seeing visions -- nightmares? -- of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. The Clippers led the Jazz by as many as 11 points but managed just a 51-49 lead at the half. Blake Griffin was limited to six points and three rebounds at halftime, and Utah power forward Paul Millsap had 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. But the Clippers blitzed the Jazz with a 19-2 run to start the third quarter as Griffin and Caron Butler took over. Griffin had 10 points during the surge, including back-to-back three-point plays, and finished with 12 points in the quarter. Butler added 11, including 4-of-4 free throws for Los Angeles, which outscored Utah 36-20 in the third quarter. "Our defense, we picked up the intensity," said Chris Paul of the catalyst for the big run. "We stopped letting them catch the ball where they wanted to catch up. Just being there, that presence. When we get stops, like we always say, we're dangerous in the open court." With the win, the Clippers swept the season series from the Jazz for the first time since 1978-79. Butler had 21 points to lead the Clippers and Griffin finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Chris Paul added 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. Lamar Odom scored 18 points off the bench, his highest output in more than a year. DeAndre Jordan contributed 12 rebounds and seven points. "Just by staying with it, looking for my offense and the support of my teammates to play through whatever I'm going through," Odom said of the impetus for his big game. "And it was just (about) letting the game come to me at the same time." Added Paul: "LO was unbelievable tonight. Without his spark, his aggressiveness, we don't win this game. When he's aggressive, it changes the dynamic of our team and what we're capable of." Led by Odom, the Clippers had an impressive 42 points off the bench. Utah's reserves were even more impressive, scoring 57, but the points were needed to offset the starters' struggles. Randy Foye, Jamaal Tinsley and Marvin Williams went scoreless and were a combined 0 of 9 from the field. Utah's tired trio was particularly woeful from long distance, going 0-for-8 from 3-point range as the Jazz went just 1-for-15 overall. Gordon Hayward had 23 points and eight rebounds off the bench to lead Utah. Millsap finished with 19 points, Al Jefferson with 16, Enes Kanter with 15 and Alex Burks with 12 points and six rebounds. "We just didn't weather the storm in the third quarter," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "A team like this, they get dunk after dunk, they'll put a lot of points on you pretty quickly and that's what happened." NOTES: Utah's Mo Williams (right thumb rehab) and Raja Bell (not with team) missed the game. Bell has not played this season. ... The Clippers won their first two games against Utah this season by a combined three points. Los Angeles then bounced back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Jazz 107-96 at Staples Center on Dec. 30. ... Utah's Jefferson leads NBA centers in field goal attempts and field goals made and ranks second in points per game. ... Entering the game, the Clippers' five straight wins over Utah was their longest winning streak over the Jazz since winning seven straight from 1979 to 1981. ... The Jazz are on pace to shatter the franchise record for 3-pointers in a season, with the most through 55 games (336) in team history. ... Both teams rank in the NBA's top 10 in assists and blocked shots. ... The Clippers' 26-point loss to San Antonio on Feb. 21 tied for their worst loss of the season.
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