Jazz-Clippers: Report card

Published: Saturday, March 31 2012 11:37 p.m. MDT

Los Angeles Clippers' guard Chris Paul, left, makes a pass as he is defended by Utah Jazz's guard Devin Harris during the first half of a NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Jazz experienced a second consecutive defeat Saturday after a surprising loss to Sacramento in Salt Lake City. Utah (27-26) was led by Al Jefferson's 26 points, while Los Angeles (31-21) was led by Blake Griffin, who had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Guards: Devin Harris (2-of-4 shooting, six assists) and Gordon Hayward (14 points) were decent offensively, though they were largely responsible for yielding big offensive outings to Chris Paul (26 points, 10-of-14 shooting, six assists) and Randy Foye (17 points, six assists). Hayward's 4-of-12 effort from the floor means that the second-year player has shot below 45 percent from the field in six of the past eight games. GRADE: C-

Forwards: It's always good to get a combined 31 points on 10-of-20 shooting from Paul Millsap and C.J. Miles combined, especially when Miles shoots 4 of 6 from the field. Millsap showed his versatility with not just nine rebounds but five assists. However, Blake Griffin's big night (he shot 10 of 16 as well) nullified some of the solid effort. Miles has registered 21 minutes or more in 11 of the past 13 games after logging eight minutes each on March 5 and 7. GRADE: B-

Centers: With 26 points on 13-of-22 shooting, Al Jefferson was efficient offensively. In fact, the 19.4 points-per-game scorer has logged 23 or more in five of the past seven contests. However, he grabbed just four rebounds while letting DeAndre Jordan grab 10 in six fewer minutes. Enes Kanter shot a perfect 3-of-3 from the field for seven points and four rebounds in 11 minutes. GRADE: B+

Bench: The Jazz bench was outscored by the Clipper reserves 24-20. Utah was led by Kanter's seven, while Derrick Favors grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes. The big man has grabbed five or more rebounds in 11 straight games, including five contests with double figures. Alec Burks shot just 1 of 7 after playing much more alive against the Kings. GRADE: C-

Overall: The Jazz were not by any means awful at any one position, but their defense was worse than good. Utah allowed the Clippers to shoot 54 percent from the field, including 10 of 21 from distance. Given their history in defending opposing guards this season, no one might have expected the Jazz backcourt to hold down Chris Paul. They certainly didn't prove anyone wrong. GRADE: C-

Rhett Wilkinson is majoring in communications and political science at Utah State University. He has previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at rhett.wilkinson@yahoo.com or at Twitter: wilklogan

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