It was a tale of two halves for the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately for Utah, its better half was the first one. Behind their star power and veteran savvy, the Clippers took off in the second half and glided to a relatively comfortable 96-87 victory.
The Jazz started the game with tremendous energy, great teamwork and precise execution. They took advantage of a seemingly confused Los Angeles defense, getting any shot they wanted en route to a 33-22 lead after one quarter. The Clippers' play then steadily improved over the course of the game, particularly in a dominant 34-21 third quarter. Their explosive offense changed the tenor of the game, as Los Angeles seized the momentum and coasted from there.
Chris Paul led the Clippers with 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Blake Griffin added 20 points and five rebounds. Los Angeles also enjoyed some solid performances from the deep roster of role players.
Utah ended up losing all three of its games during this week’s home stand and now embark on a three-game road trip.
Off and running: With their high-flying personnel, the Clippers are well known for their penchant to run and push the tempo of game. Friday’s game was evidence of this, as L.A.’s running game helped open thing up for them in the third quarter. The Clippers ended up tripling Utah’s fast break point total, 31-10.
Confidence growing: Rookie point guard Trey Burke continued his strong play by hitting seven of 10 shots for 18 points and four assists against Paul, who many feel is the barometer for all other playmakers. He averaged 20.3 points and 4.7 assists during these past three outings.
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- Outside swing man Gordon Hayward’s 10 assists and two turnovers, Utah had eight assists and 14 miscues.
- Enes Kanter filled in for the injured Marvin Williams in the starting lineup. He only made five of 17 field goals, but corralled 15 rebounds to go with his 11 points.
- The Clippers bench, beyond guard Willie Green, consisted of veteran players Los Angeles has acquired mid-season through free agency: Hedo Turkoglu, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Danny Granger.
- Seven of the nine Clippers who saw time Friday recorded a steal.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.