LOS ANGELES — Normally, the Utah Jazz would be pretty happy about limiting a high-powered team like the Los Angeles Clippers to 88 points and 41 percent shooting.
But even on an afternoon when the Clippers missed 21 3-pointers and only one L.A. starter scored in double figures, the Jazz missed an opportunity to feel good about that situation.
It wasn’t the only thing they missed.
The cold-shooting Jazz just never got into a groove offensively in an 88-75 blowout loss to the Clippers in a Sunday matinee at Staples Center.
Which brings up the chicken-or-the-egg basketball question: Great Clippers defense or lousy Jazz offense?
“I think the Clippers are just that good of a team,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I don’t think we played well offensively. Our defense kept us in the game for a while, but some of our better players struggled tonight, and that happens. It puts a lot of pressure on the other guys and a lot of pressure on our defense, so we just weren’t very good offensively.”
The Jazz’s top two point guards were the only players to reach double figures as the team slipped to 1-2 this season.
Once again, starting playmaker George Hill had a strong outing in a Jazz uniform, scoring 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and backup Dante Exum chipped in 10 points.
It was a rough game — or a quiet one — for just about everybody else.
Rodney Hood missed eight of 10 shots. Joe Johnson only made three of nine attempts. Derrick Favors only shot 1 for 8. Boris Diaw was off on both of his tries.
And, well, you get the point.
Maybe basketball matinees just aren’t the Jazz’s thing. As a team, Utah only shot 39.1 percent, which managed to make the Clippers’ 34-for-83 shooting look decent.
“We got great looks all night. I don’t think they did anything special defensively. We just missed shots,” Hood said. “I know I missed a lot of tip-ins near the basket. We had a couple offensive rebounds that we bobbled out of bounds. If we had just knocked those shots down and finished plays, then it would be a closer game than that.”
The second quarter was particularly rough. Utah only scored 13 points after making just six of 18 shots in that pivotal period, which helped the Clippers take a 42-35 halftime lead.
Things got worse in the second half as the Jazz fell behind by as many as 22 points.
“I thought that (our) defense was terrific. We were very physical, you know, two games in a row, our physicality has been something you would notice,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “When they (the Jazz) miss that many shots and they only have seven offensive rebounds, which the type of rebounding team that they are, that’s great. For us to miss as many and have 14, (which) just tells us that we were locked in.”
Austin Rivers came off the bench to lead the Clippers with 19 points. Blake Griffin contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan totaled 16 rebounds and seven points, and Chris Paul added nine points, nine assists and four steals.
It doesn’t get easier for the Jazz this week. They flew out of L.A. on Sunday to travel to San Antonio, where they’ll place the Spurs on Tuesday night.
“You just have to move on. That’s the good thing about the NBA is when you have a bad game, you can just forget about it and move on to the next one,” Favors said. “We have to put this game behind us, and come out ready to play San Antonio.”
JAZZ NOTES: Favors logged 23 minutes on Sunday after playing for 20 in Friday’s win over the Lakers. He remains on a minutes restriction as he works his way back into health after missing most of the preseason with knee issues. Snyder said Diaw continues to be bothered by a left leg contusion, but the veteran forward is playing through it. Weber State rookie Joel Bolomboy and second-year point guard Raul Neto each played for the first time this season.
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