Utah Jazz: Clippers rout Jazz 107-94 to complete first sweep in 34 years
LOS ANGELES — Somewhere, World B. Free, Swen Nater and Kermit Washington have got to be smiling.
Or maybe they're as upset as the 1972 Miami Dolphins might be if an NFL team ever goes undefeated again.
For the first time since their teams were located in New Orleans and San Diego instead of Utah and Los Angeles, the Clippers pulled off a season sweep of the Jazz.
After digging out of a double-digit deficit in the first half to take a short-lived lead, the Jazz fell apart — and quickly — by giving up the final five points of the second quarter and the first 14 points of the second half en route to a 107-94 blowout loss to the Clippers.
The Jazz hadn't gone winless against a Clipper team since losing all four times in the 1978-79 season — a year before they headed west to the Beehive State.
"Congratulations to them for sweeping us," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "Hopefully, we'll meet them in the playoffs. If not, we'll take care of it next year."
Caron Butler scored 21 points; Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom each scored 18; and Chris Paul effectively ran the show as Los Angeles beat Utah for the sixth time in a row, dating back to last season.
"They're a good team. We've had opportunities to win ballgames, especially two games over in our home floor," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We were right in there at halftime here, a two-point game, and they scored 36 points in the third. It's tough to come back from that on the road."
The Clippers outshot the Jazz 51 percent to 41 percent, outrebounded Utah 46-39 and completely dominated the second half while building a lead as big as 21 points.
It didn't help Utah's cause that it missed 14 of 15 3-pointers, including an 0-for-5 night from former Clipper Randy Foye.
Foye wasn't the only Jazz starter who struggled and went scoreless. Marvin Williams and Jamaal Tinsley also put up goose eggs, with the three combining to miss all nine attempts.
"It hurt us. They missed some good shots," Corbin said of his starters' struggles. "But you know what? This team (the Clippers), they played hard. They had a tough loss the other night (116-90 to Spurs)."
Utah, which fell to 31-25 and 10-19 on the road, did get a big outing from its bench, including a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds from Gordon Hayward.
Backup center Enes Kanter finished with 15 points. He had his chin busted open in the first half and required four stitches in the training room but returned to play in the second half.
Alec Burks added 12 points and Derrick Favors grabbed eight boards and scored seven points.
But that 19-0 Clipper run was just too much for Utah to overcome. L.A. improved to 40-19 with the impressive win.
"They got whatever they wanted," Corbin said.
"You can't give that team the type of confidence in the third quarter," Jefferson said. "We gave them layups and turned the ball over too many times. We missed a lot of easy shots — shots that we were supposed to make."
Paul Millsap was the only player who appeared to be in the game for the Jazz early on. He scored Utah's first 13 points and totaled 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter, helping the visitors fight back to within two points going into the second period.
Jefferson, who had 16 points, gave the Jazz a 49-46 lead with 1:31 to go in the first half. That momentum didn't last long for Utah, though.
Paul scored the final five points of the first half to give the Clippers a 51-49 lead at the break.
The Clippers then continued to surge after halftime, going on a commanding 14-0 spurt capped by back-to-back Griffin three-point plays.
Jefferson finally snapped that streak with a jumper, putting the Jazz on the scoreboard at the 8:07 mark of the third quarter.
However, L.A. had two more baskets in a row to cap off an incredible 24-2 run.
The Jazz never threatened again after that.
"I wasn’t alive 34 years ago, so it really doesn't matter back then. We had a chance each and every game that we played them," Big Al said. "The two games in Utah, (we were) up 20-plus points and let them come back. Each game here, we had a chance to win."
Utah returns home for a game Monday against Boston, kicking off a three-game homestand before a road-heavy March.
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