The Utah Jazz lost their sixth straight preseason game Wednesday, but in doing so they gave the Los Angeles Clippers a run for the money and showed many encouraging signs of good things to come.
The Jazz kept the score close all evening, but Los Angeles' high-scoring fourth quarter led to a 103-99 victory at Staples Center.
With its starters playing less than regular-season rotation minutes, Los Angeles employed a well-balanced attack in securing the victory. Five players scored 14 or more points with sixth-man Jamal Crawford’s 16 points leading the effort.
Derrick Favors showed why he deserved last week’s contract extension by tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Jazz.
The Jazz drop to 1-6 in the preseason with one outing remaining. They have until Oct. 28 to finalize their opening-day roster.
Keys for the Clippers: Los Angeles struggled from the field by hitting just 32 of 83 from floor (38.6 percent), but the Clippers' energetic effort and teamwork was enough to compensate for it.
The Clippers were aggressive in their forays to the basket and earned 47 free throw attempts in the process. Their 34 makes gave them a 14-point advantage over their counterparts from the charity stripe.
And as it was in its first preseason match-up with the Jazz, the Clippers’ passing game was stellar. Led by Chris Paul’s poised leadership, L.A. assisted on 26 of its 32 field goals — an excellent 81.3 percent mark. Moreover, the Clippers took care of the ball. They committed just 12 turnovers.
Rookie revelation?: On NBA draft night, the Jazz front office traded up to secure the services of center Rudy Gobert. It is a move that may be one of the most underrated of the busy offseason. While he missed a few preseason tilts due to injury, the rookie Frenchman made his presence felt against the Clippers and showed he could be a factor for Utah coach Tyrone Corbin this season.
The 7-foot-2 big man displayed the impact he can have defensively by swatting five shots and altering several more. He was a force to be reckoned with inside in corralling 12 rebounds in the process. His presence and surprising agility gave the Jazz bench a spark. While his offense was so-so with four points, the effort was very promising for the future.
Odds and Ends:
- While he has been owning the boards during the preseason and playing spirited defense, Favors had his best offensive outing of the preseason. Going against the talented Clippers front court, the big man made decisive power moves inside in connecting on 10-of-17 shots from the field.
- Despite having some guaranteed money, the Clippers waived former BYU forward Brandon Davies earlier in the week. This leaves L.A. with 15 players on its roster.
- Due to injuries, Utah was minus Trey Burke, Marvin Williams, Brandon Rush, Jeremy Evans and Dominic McGuire on Wednesday.
- Jazz rookie guard Ian Clark had his best game thus far in scoring eight first-half points. His pair of three-pointers came as a part of solid second-quarter run for Utah.
- The two teams combined to hit just 10-of-35 three-pointers.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for Salt City Hoops and Utah Jazz 360. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.