Minus Griffin, Clippers beat short-handed Jazz
Dec. 27, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Playing without Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers used their perimeter shooting to pick up a win on the road.
J.J. Redick scored 25 points and Paul Pierce had 20, leading the Clippers to a 109-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Los Angeles shot 50 percent (13 of 26) from 3-point range. Redick and Pierce combined for 10-of-12 shooting from the perimeter. All but one of those baskets came after halftime.
"Their defense was really good in the first half in terms of limiting our 3s," Redick said. "We kind of figured out how to get open. Playing with Blake, we have so many sets we run that basically require Blake Griffin to be on the court — especially that starting group. We were kind of figuring it out on the fly in the first half."
The Clippers announced earlier in the day that Griffin, the team's leading scorer, is expected miss at least two weeks while healing from a partially torn left quadriceps tendon. It is the first time he has missed any games due to injuries this season.
"It's going to take a number of guys to fill his role," Pierce said. "He's an All-Star. He's an MVP candidate, so it's going to have to come from a number of guys."
Chris Paul scored 19 points and DeAndre Jordan added 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers (18-13), who won their second straight game after losing three in a row.
Gordon Hayward scored 28 points for Utah, and Rodney Hood added 15 points. It wasn't enough to prevent the Jazz (12-16) from a second straight loss.
Trey Lyles made two foul shots to give Utah a 64-58 lead with 7:43 left in the third. But Los Angeles responded with a 14-0 run capped by three 3s from Redick.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers adjusted at halftime, bringing Pierce out as a second-half starter in place of Josh Smith. The switch worked to perfection.
"In the third quarter, having Paul in there just gave us spacing," Rivers said. "I thought Josh played well. We just didn't have space with him and Luc (Mbah a Moute). By putting Paul on the floor, it gave us space."
Hood made a 3-pointer to put the Jazz back ahead 88-85 with 5:26 left in the fourth. The Clippers retook the lead for good on a floater from Paul with 2:47 remaining. Redick and Pierce made sure Utah couldn't come back when they combined for three 3-pointers over a minute to put Los Angeles up 105-100 with 29 seconds left.
The Jazz were doomed when they couldn't figure out how to handle the screens Los Angeles used to get Redick and Pierce open.
"It wasn't anything magical," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "You just got to communicate at the end of the game if you're switching all those screens and we didn't. They'll make you pay. They just need a window and they're clutch players."
Clippers: Pierce scored 11 points in the third quarter after totaling just six before halftime. ... Los Angeles has won 14 times in its last 15 games against the Jazz. The Clippers are 1-1 this season. ... Jordan recorded his 16th double-double of the season.
Jazz: F Derrick Favors did not play because of back spasms. It is the first game Favors has missed because of an injury this season. ... G Alec Burks left late in the second quarter after landing on his surgically repaired shoulder and hitting his head following a hard foul from Pierce. Burks did not return in the second half. ... G Joe Ingles scored a season-high 14 points.
Clippers: Visit the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Jazz: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.