Los Angeles, CA — From the tip-off the Los Angeles Clippers looked to take control of the game offensively.
Unfortunately for them, the Utah Jazz defense showed up. After a slow start, the Jazz (25-21) contained the offense of the Clippers (24-20) and pulled out a 129-109 win, locking up their first 5-game win streak this season.
The Clippers boasted a three guard and two post line up to quicken the pace but had a really tough time scoring in the paint, getting out-scored 54 to 46 and out-rebounded 61 to 46.
The Clippers started off hot, as Mike Scott connected on his lone three point field attempt. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added a quick bucket afterwards to pad their lead. The Jazz had a rough first 30 seconds as Donovan Mitchell had back to back turnovers.
However, the Jazz defense came to life quickly. The highlight of the game was easily George Niang’s block on Patrick Beverly in the first half. It was monstrous and the entire arena went wild.
Clippers guard Avery Bradley lit up the three-point line by shooting 3-of-4 behind the stripe, but the Clippers were down 56-49 at halftime.
The game plan tonight wasn’t going as planned as Clippers head coach Doc Rivers stated.
“I don’t know what Gall (Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari) has to do to draw a foul,” Rivers said. “They attacked more. They tried to attack (Jazz center Rudy) Gobert, which is silly.”
The Clippers offense didn’t take advantage of the outside shooting ability, whereas the Jazz made sure to attack off the dribble. If the Clippers used a different tactic than trying to shoot over a great shot blocker then the odds would have been better.
Lou Williams perfectly tear-dropped a layup during the fourth quarter but he was one of the only ones able to connect over the Jazz defense. He finished strongly by going an impressive 8-of-11 from the field and finishing with 23 points, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to lift the Clippers.
“The teams that can score and play defense will win, that’s just how it always goes,” Rivers stated after the game.
Donovan Mitchell led the way with 28 points and 6 assists for the Jazz while Rudy Gobert closed with a stunning 23 points and 22 rebounds. Jae Crowder’s sharp shooting night ended with 23 points, finishing 8-of-15 from the field (5-of-11 from three-point range).
Mitchell mentioned that he wasn’t sure of the team’s standing until a yesterday.
“It’s still early and if they worry about it they are worried about the wrong thing,” Mitchell stated. “(I’m) simply worrying about the team and getting better.”
As for the Clippers, Williams was the high scorer with 23 and 6 assists in only 26 minutes of play, while Tobias Harris pulled in 17 points and 6 rebounds. Some post game talk about Gilgeous-Alexander’s slump-like performance has been the talk of the town but according to Coach Rivers he just has to continue playing to shake it off. He shot 50% from the field on Wednesday but turned the ball over four times.
The Clippers’ next home game is Friday against the Golden State Warriors, who will be welcoming DeMarcus Cousins to their lineup. Cousins will be playing his first game as a Warrior after his season came to an end last year with a ruptured Achilles.