Blake Griffin Leads Clippers To 10th Straight Win
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Blake Griffin had 20 points and Chris Paul shook off a sprained ankle to score 18 points and extended the Los Angeles Clippers’ winning streak to 10 with a 96-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Los Angeles had its lowest points total during the streak, but the Clippers won this time with defense, forcing 20 turnovers by the Jazz that led to 31 points.
The Jazz led 70-60 in the third-quarter, but the Clippers capitalized on a rash of Utah miscues and poor shot selection to go on a 20-2 run.
Paul landed awkwardly against the basketball standard after a layup, spraining his left ankle. The point guard limped up and down the court, but still quarterbacked the Clippers’ come-from-behind-third quarter burst. He had seven points and three assists in the six-minute run that ended with Will Green’s 3-pointer with 10:37 to play that made it 80-72.
Griffin’s inside basket extended the lead to 85-74 before the Jazz made one final surge. Hayward made a 3-pointer that closed the gap to 90-85 with 3:25 remaining, but the Jazz couldn’t score again until 24 seconds remained and the game was decided.
Trey Burke had 18 points — his third straight with at least that many — and Derrick Favors also scored 18, but the Jazz made only seven of 19 fourth-period shots and have dropped eight of nine contests.
The Clippers scored an average of 115 points a game in their previous nine, but were sluggish early against Utah.
The Jazz led by as many as 13 in the first half as they played with more energy than they’ve shown in the past several games. One thrilling sequence exemplified Utah’s determination near the end of the half. Jeremy Evans and Gordon Hayward blocked back-to-back fast-break layups by the Clippers and brought the crowd to its feet.
The Clippers missed the shooting and playmaking of Jamal Crawford (calf), but turned to their stars, Paul and Griffin, to bring them back and claim their ninth straight against the Jazz.
Griffin ranks fourth in the league with more than 28 points per game since Feb. 3 and has now scored at least 20 points in 25 consecutive games, the second-longest current streak in the NBA.
Matt Barnes contributed 15 points and Darren Collison had 14 as the Clippers set a season-high for fast-break points with 31.
Starting in place of injured Marvin Williams (back), Enes Kanter had 11 points and 15 rebounds, but shot just 5 for 17 for the Jazz.
NOTES: In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday, the Jazz wore their road green uniforms. The Clippers played in their regular red away attire. … Collison’s layup at the first-half buzzer was disallowed after video review. … The Jazz fell to 0-12 when Williams is out with injury, while the Clippers are 6-0 without Crawford.