After a truly disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, the Clips needed a big turnaround against the Utah Jazz tonight and got one, winning the season series against the Jazz for the first time in a thousand years.
The Clips came out, playing like they wanted to bury the Jazz, and behind the play of Blake Griffin jumped out to a 21-13 lead. But the Jazz climbed back in and with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Gordon Hayward contributing, the Jazz managed to tie the Clips up at 39 with five minutes left in the second. And as the half closed the Clips were only up by two points.
Then the second half started. Playing tough defense and focused offense, the Clips came out and scored the first fourteen points of the half (nine by Griffin) and take a 65 to 49 lead. Caron Butler has two remarkable drives to the rim and a three pointer and the Clips find themselves up by 19 points with 6:30 left in the third.That pretty much does it. The Clips never really look back. Despite a run by Utah late in the fourth the Jazz never get closer than twelve.
- Caron Butler played his butt off and probably has his best game of the season, scoring 21 with 5 rebounds in 30 minutes.
- Blake Griffin had to sit down with 3:00 left in the third after collecting his fourth foul. But Griffin was, for most of the night, the best player on the floor. He was unstoppable in single coverage... even though the Jazz have some pretty good defenders in Millsap and Derrick Favors. Statistically he's average, with 18 points and 7 rebounds but he goes 4 for 4 from the foul line has three assists, never stops working, and outplays anything the Jazz throw at him. Clips don't win without him.
- Lamar Odom BREAKS OUT and scores eighteen, (8-15, 2-3 from three) in 23 minutes. A lot of it happens in the fourth when the game is over but it's nice to see Lamar look for his shot.
- I don't understand Gordon Hayward, he doesn't shoot much or particularly well, but he's high man for the Jazz with 23 points in 30 minutes. He can run the floor, gets to the rim, has 8 rebounds and goes 13-14 from the foul line. 14 TRIPS TO THE LINE. Crazy. If he learns to shoot, he's an All Star.
- Randy Foye, former Clipper goes 0 for 5 and puts up a goose egg. The other starting member of the Jazz backcourt also conjures up a naught (as does small forward Marvin Williams.) If the Jazz get ANY production out of their backcourt and their small forward, they're in this game.
- After all the trade talk, how did Eric Bledsoe do? Well he was part of a very sloppy fourth period when the game didn't matter, but he was also very effective working with the second unit, going 2-6 with 6 assists and some crisp defensive play.
- DeAndre Jordan got beat up a bit by Al Jefferson who is as gifted an offensive big man as there is. But Jordan scored 7 and grabbed 12 rebounds in only 26 minutes. Seriously, with numbers like that, it makes no sense why Ryan Hollins gets any time at all. I'm sure Vinny has a good reason. (I'm the first one down on Jordan when he plays like a knucklehead but he deserves more time when he focuses on rebounding and defense.)
- Strange that I haven't mentioned Chris Paul. He was quietly efficient and the Clips big runs all happened while he was on the floor. 11/7. Yawn.
Next up is the Clippers against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples on Tuesday.