LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter, Jamal Crawford got 12 of his 18 points in the fourth and DeAndre Jordan added 16 rebounds and 11 points, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 96-94 preseason victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Chris Paul had six points and nine assists in his second game back after undergoing surgery on his right thumb in August. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro rested all of his starters throughout the fourth quarter and didn’t play Grant Hill and Lamar Odom at all in the team’s first game back from an eight-day, two-game trip to China.
Former Clippers guard Randy Foye had 17 points for the Jazz, coming off back-to-back wins over the Lakers by a combined margin of 47 points.
Jamaal Tinsley started again at point guard in place of the injured Mo Williams and played 22 scoreless minutes with seven assists. Williams sat out his second straight game because of a groin strain, and swingman Derrick Favors did not play because of a bruised right knee.
Trailing 48-33 late in the first half, the Clippers went on a 21-5 spurt to grab a 66-62 lead in the final minute of the third. Willie Green, starting at shooting guard for the injured Chauncey Billups, put Los Angeles ahead 62-61 on a 3-pointer with 2:46 left in the quarter.
The Clippers built their margin to 83-72 on a layup and a pair of free throws by Eric Bledsoe with 6:45 to play. Utah tied it 92-all on a 3-pointer by Alec Burks that capped a 20-9 run with a minute to play. But Crawford responded with a three-point play off a layup, putting the Clippers ahead for good.
Foye’s attempt at a tying layup was swatted out of bounds by Ryan Hollins with 5.2 seconds left, and Foye missed a 20-footer from the left of the key as time expired.
Foye, the first player off the Utah bench in his Staples Center homecoming, received a warm greeting from the crowd of 14,617 when he reported in late in the opening period and responded with a pair of 3-pointers less than 2 minutes apart to help the Jazz maintain a slim lead.
NOTES: Billups, whose 2011-12 season ended in February because of a torn left Achilles tendon that required surgery, isn’t expected to return to the lineup anytime soon. Del Negro said he will require another two weeks of practices and a full-contact scrimmage before the club can get a more accurate read on his status. … The Clippers and Jazz begin their four-game season series Dec. 3 at Staples Center.