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Utah Jazz rally from 18 down, beat Clippers in 2 OTs

Published: Wednesday, July 1 2015 8:02 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — For a while Saturday night, beating the Utah Jazz seemed so easy even a Kaman could do it.

But after a bizarre, lopsided first half, nothing came easy for anybody — not for Chris Kaman or his fast-starting Los Angeles Clippers, not for the late-arriving Utah Jazz, not even for their sponsor's cavemen.

"It was a tough game," the Jazz's Deron Williams said.

Make that a tough, long game — one that was eventually won by the Jazz after the All-Star point guard drove the length of the court for a go-ahead bucket with 6.8 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner in the exhausting 109-107 double-overtime thriller.

"That's what he does," small forward C.J. Miles said. "Great players make great plays."

This much-needed victory, coming a night after a rough 82-75 loss at Golden State, was far more challenging than most of the Jazz's abundant wins over the Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah fell behind by 10 points only a few minutes after tipoff, and the struggles only got worse after that as Kaman (23 points) and rookie power forward Blake Griffin (16 points, 17 rebounds) helped the Clippers build their lead to as high as 18 in the opening half.

L.A., which hadn't won here since January 2003, seemed determined to snap its 14-game losing streak in Salt Lake City and enjoyed a 55-39 halftime lead.

"We really had a tough start," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They just manhandled us most of the time in the first half."

Thanks to an increased desire, more energy and better execution, though, the Jazz managed to snap out of it in the second half.

Utah scored the first six points of the third quarter and a 17-3 surge clipped the Clippers lead to 58-56 midway through the period.

"We fought back and got back in it," Sloan said. "It was great to see us do that."

Even after seizing momentum, Utah couldn't vault itself into the lead until taking a 77-75 advantage a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter on Williams' driving floater.

Utah threatened to break it open a few times in the fourth, but the Clippers — helped by a spark from Eric Gordon (27 points) — wouldn't go away.

That was even the case after the Jazz took a seven-point lead with 1:04 remaining on a pair of Williams free throws.

Next thing ESA fans knew, the teams were battling it out in overtime after Gordon finished regulation with a seven-point flurry.

Williams and Gordon missed potential game-winners in the final moments of the first overtime, and the Jazz need almost all of the second five-minute session to put the Clippers away.

Rasual Butler hit a pair of 3-pointers to erase the Jazz's six-point lead, building up Williams' big finish.

After Butler's second trey, Williams pushed the ball up the court at full speed and charged down the left side to put in a clutch layup and game-winner.

"That's the alertness that he has," Sloan said. "He knows what he's doing. And to be able to do that it looks real easy, but that takes a special player to be able to do that."

Williams finished with a game-high 30 points — with eight rebounds and seven assists — and played a whopping 54 minutes.

"I'm going to feel them tomorrow," he said.

But at least he'll suffer soreness with a smile after the Jazz improved their ESA record against the Clippers to 37-1 and bounced back from the ugly loss in Oakland.

"This group came out and played tough tonight," Williams said. "Took it to us early and we had to fight our battle all day. So that made it a lot tougher on us."

Paul Millsap had another big game for the Jazz. Along with battling Griffin, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, Millsap scored 25 points with 13 rebounds.

Al Jefferson added 18 points with 10 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko chipped in 18 points as well.

The win came at a good time for the Jazz, who leave Monday for a four-game Eastern trip that begins Tuesday in Miami.

"It's definitely good to go on this trip with a win on our belt and everybody feeling confident," Miles said.

"We know it's a tough road ahead of us. We've just got to go out there and just play hard and just turn down our turnovers a little bit and turn down our mental mistakes and we'll be fine."

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