Clippers 98, Jazz 90

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Forward Blake Griffin scored 40 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 98-90 victory over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on Saturday night.
It was the second game in a row in which Griffin scored at least 30 points, coming on the heels of his 35-point, 11-rebound performance in an overtime loss Thursday at the Portland Trail Blazers. Griffin has 23 double-doubles this season.
Point guard Chris Paul just missed recording a triple-double. He scored 21 points, dished out nine assists and had 10 rebounds. He also had five steals as the Clippers (21-11) ended a two-game skid and beat the Jazz (9-24) for the sixth consecutive time.
Reserve center Enes Kanter led Utah with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while forwards Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams had 15 points apiece.
Griffin sparked an 8-0 surge by the Clippers after two free throws by Utah guard Trey Burke, who finished with 12 points, tied the score at 90 with 2:33 remaining in the game. Utah, though, never scored again.
A dunk by Griffin, a 3-pointer by Crawford, two Paul free throws and another one by Griffin with 1:19 left gave Los Angeles all it needed.
The Clippers never trailed after grabbing the lead in the third quarter. A layup by reserve forward Matt Barnes capped an 11-2 run late in the third, giving the Clippers a 67-58 lead with 2:22 remaining. But the Jazz cut the margin to 68-65 after a 3-pointer by Hayward ended the third-quarter scoring.
Both teams started slow offensively, with each shooting below 40 percent in the first quarter and hitting a shade above it -- 41.2 percent for the Jazz compared to 41 percent for the Clippers -- in the first half.
Utah could have been excused since it was playing the second game of a back-to-back, earning a 105-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, but the Clippers had a day to recover from their 116-112 overtime loss at Portland.
The Jazz, though, led for most of the first half and managed a 43-42 lead at the break. Jefferson scored 12 points in the first half, while Williams finished with nine.
Griffin picked up two fouls in the opening four minutes before returning to score 12 of his 14 first-half points in the second quarter. Paul had 13 points in the half.
NOTES: Los Angeles reserve C Ryan Hollins missed the game for personal reasons. ... Clippers F Blake Griffin is the only NBA player averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and 50 percent shooting from the floor. ... Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers is impressed with the play of Jazz F Derrick Favors. "He's playing unbelievable," Rivers said before the game. "He's so athletic. He's a big, strong athletic kid that has a nice shot." ... The Jazz entered the game with a better record on the road (5-13) than at home (4-10). They also have compiled an 8-9 mark entering Saturday's contest after starting the season 1-14. ... The Jazz return home to host the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. The Clippers will play the Phoenix Suns on Monday at Staples.

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