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Jazz hold two-point edge over Clippers at halftime of exciting matchup

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 10:05 p.m. MST

Blake Griffin of LA, is defended by Gordon Hayward, of Utah, left, as the Los Angeles Clippers face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — If you're not at EnergySolutions Arena or near a TV, you might want to tune into ESPN or ROOT Sports pronto.

The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers are engaged in an exciting basketball game, with the home team holding a slight 58-56 edge at halftime.

Al Jefferson has returned from his ankle injury in fine form, leading the Jazz with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting and five rebounds.

Derrick Favors also has 10 points for Utah, which grounded Lob City two weeks ago in a 108-79 blowout.

Big difference in this one, and his name is Chris Paul.

The New Orleans transplant, who missed the first L.A.-Utah contest, has sliced and diced the Jazz interior defense and made Utah pay from outside as well, racking up 18 points with two 3-pointers and eight assists.

Dynamic dunker Blake Griffin has already eclipsed his scoring output from the first game, finishing the first half with 16 points and seven rebounds. He only had 10 points two weeks ago at ESA.

Utah held the lead for most of the second quarter after going on a monster 19-2 run, with the Junior Jazz team (Favors, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks) each making big plays.

Though Utah is shooting 61.4 percent from the field (27 for 44), the Jazz have missed 4 of 10 free throws, including three technical freebies.

The Jazz are playing without starting shooting guard Raja Bell (strained right adductor), while the Clippers are without starter Caron Butler (sore lower back).

The Lob City Clippers lived up to their billing to begin the game, as they started with five consecutive dunks to take an early 11-7 lead.

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