Clippers 107, Jazz 96

Jon Gold, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Caron Butler scored 29 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers made a late surge to pick up their 17th consecutive win, 107-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night at Staples Center.
After barely eking out wins in two previous matchups with the Jazz this season -- including a 116-114 victory at Utah on Friday night -- the Clippers survived a brutal third-quarter stretch Sunday. They pulled away when their balanced bench sparked a big fourth quarter.
The Jazz used a 17-4 run to take a 76-75 lead with just under two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Clippers regained the lead -- and the momentum -- in a hurry, and never looked back. Los Angeles outscored Utah 28-20 in the fourth quarter and hit 10 of 12 free throws. Jamal Crawford had 11 points in the quarter to help lift the Clippers to the win.
That Los Angeles was still in it, though, was a credit to Butler.
Butler had 17 points in the first quarter as he hit all five of his 3-point attempts to stake the Clippers a 29-24 lead. Los Angeles shot 57 percent from the field in the first quarter, then got even hotter in the second, hitting 11 of 16 attempts to claim a 54-45 halftime lead.
Chris Paul and Crawford each finished with 19 points for the Clippers, and Paul added nine assists and five steals. Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan scored 14 points, but forward Blake Griffin chipped in only seven points and seven rebounds in just under 26 minutes of play.
Al Jefferson had 30 points on 13-of-22 shooting to lead Utah, which has lost three straight. Gordon Hayward added 16 points off the bench for the Jazz.
Utah shot 41.3 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers, including five by point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who had 11 assists and eight points.
The Clippers shot 50 percent from the floor.
NOTES: Chauncey Billups (peroneal tendinitis), Grant Hill (knee) and Trey Thompkins (knee) remain out for the Clippers. ... Former Los Angeles guard Mo Williams (sprained right thumb) and Raja Bell (not with team) were sidelined for the Jazz. ... Utah guard Randy Foye played the previous two seasons with Los Angeles, averaging 10.4 points per game. ... Entering play Sunday, Paul led the NBA in assist-turnover ratio (4.42-to-1) and steals (79) and ranked second in assists (9.4 per game). ... Jordan had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Clippers' win Friday. ... Utah won back-to-back games over the Clippers in November 2008, the last time the two teams matchup up in consecutive games. ... Utah entered the game ranked third in the NBA in offensive rebounds. ... The Jazz is 2-7 since its 99-96 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 12.

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