LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers were playing for the 10th time in 15 nights. The Utah Jazz were going for the second consecutive day and without a couple of players.
It looked like it.
The Jazz’s shooting touch was as cold as the Staples Center ice sheet, which had to be covered in a hurry after an afternoon NHL game.
And though they picked up a 102-87 win over Utah, the Clippers just weren’t their high-flying, explosive selves for much of the night.
"Good win for us. I though it was a hard game. You could see it early," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We just couldn't get it going."
Despite being held to 42 first-half points and below their season average of 106 per game, the Clippers dominated the second half by outscoring the Jazz 60-45 en route to their eighth straight win over Utah. That’s the longest winning streak this Los Angeles squad has had against the Jazz in franchise history.
"I thought they showed their experience on us a little bit. They've played a lot of games, we've played a back-to-back," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "When it got tight there in that third quarter, I thought they executed better than we did."
Stellar sixth man Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 27 points for the Clippers, who are off to their second-best start at 34-16.
L.A. also got double-double outings from their powerful paint pair, with Blake Griffin scoring 25 and grabbing 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan totaling 10 points with 14 boards.
Utah, now 16-31, was down two post players — starting center Derrick Favors and backup big man Jeremy Evans.
“We’ve been through it a few times this year unfortunately. It’s another situation where we’re just trying to get a win,” Corbin said before the game. “The guys that’s in uniform have got to be ready to go and we’ll juggle some things around.”
Center Enes Kanter took over Favors’ starting spot and led the Jazz with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but Richard Jefferson (19) and Gordon Hayward (15) were the only other Utah players in double digits.
Utah shot just 35.8 percent while losing for the second straight night after falling to Golden State 95-90 at home Friday. The Jazz were in the game while their 3-point shots fell, but they ended up hitting only 10 of 30.
"We had a lot of late-clock situations where we had to have some up there," Corbin said. "The way they were pressuring defensively, we didn't get that first look that we were looking for."
The Jazz stayed in this game for a while, taking a 21-19 lead after the first quarter and going ahead 58-55 after a Trey Burke 3-pointer and free throws by Marvin Williams.
It wasn’t close after that.
"First half, I thought we came out with a lot of energy, and I saw a lot of good things," Kanter said. "Second half, we just couldn't finish the game. They made a lot of shots."
Point guard Darren Collison, filling in for injured star Chris Paul, sparked a game-changing 8-0 run with a 3-pointer to tie the score at 58.
Before the Jazz scored again — on a Kanter free throw — the Clippers had taken a five-point lead and the momentum.
By the end of the third, the Clippers led by 11 points. That advantage grew to as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Western Conference’s second-best team.
This was the second game in a row Utah played without Favors, the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder. The starting center tested himself before tipoff but was unable to go because of the strained right hip abductor he’s been dealing with for two weeks.
The Jazz were also without Evans, who left in the second quarter of Friday’s game after landing hard on the court. The good news is that X-rays taken Saturday morning of the forward’s tailbone were negative.
Utah did get Williams back in the starting lineup after the forward sat out Friday’s game with a sore right Achilles' heel. Williams, who said his heel feels “pretty sore” but better when warmed up, finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
“It’s just another one of those things where it kind of just flared up on me,” Williams said. “Coming into the season, I knew I was going to have some difficulties throughout the year, so I’m just going to have to work around them.”
With Favors and Evans out, Rudy Gobert got more minutes (18) than usual — until he fouled out, that is. Gobert’s strange-looking stat line: six fouls, five points and four rebounds.
"Only my first foul was very stupid. The other fouls, I was just playing," Gobert said. "I don't want to say that (I was frustrated). That's how it is. I'm a rookie, just trying to be aggressive."
NOTES: Former Jazz point guard Howard Eisley, John Stockton’s backup during the team’s NBA Finals seasons in 1997 and ’98, was in Salt Lake City on Friday for Jerry Sloan’s banner-raising ceremony. Like Utah, he traveled to L.A. for this game. Eisley is an assistant player skills coach for the Clippers. Utah went 6-6 in January, its best month of the 2013-14 season. The team lost its only game in October, suffered a 3-14 mark in November and had a 7-9 December. The Clippers have now gone 12-4 without Paul in the lineup. The All-Star was out again with a shoulder injury.
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