Clippers win close one at Staples Center

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Last night the Utah Jazz came to town to face the L.A. Clippers. The Jazz are coming off a stunning upset victory over the Phoenix Suns, having beaten them by 27 points on Sunday, in Salt Lake City. Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 32 points so we expected Utah to be pumped up and ready to do the same to the Clippers.

J.J. Redick scores a 3-pointer for the Clippers, the first points of the game. (Claudia Gestro)
J.J. Redick scores a 3-pointer for the Clippers, the first points of the game.
(Claudia Gestro)

The Clippers were dealt their first loss of the season Sunday by the Sacramento Kings, a close game that ended in the Kings favor 98-92. The game was in the Staples Center and it came off a big win against the Clippers’ cross arena rivals, the L.A. Lakers.

Notable for the Clippers in Sunday’s game was Blake Griffin being held to just 17 points, well below his average and well below the 39 points he scored Friday Night against the Lakers.

The Clippers wanted to redeem themselves in the Staples Center, but they were playing the Utah Jazz, a much improved team. So the Clippers would need some stiff defense and big offensive performances, especially from Blake Griffin, Spencer Hawes and J.J. Redick.

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The Utah Jazz did come into the Staples Center a fired up team after crushing the Phoenix Suns the night before. They put the Clippers defense to the test, spreading around their offense, forcing L.A. to defend five different Utah players who were consistently scoring all night.

The Clippers though had Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, both dominating the Clippers scoring, along with Jamal Crawford and Jordan Farmer, who was a big contributor in the fourth quarter. At the start of the final quarter Reggie Bullock made a crucial 3-pointer to take the lead back for the Clippers. It was that kind of night when we couldn’t predict who would end the game as the winners.

J.J. Redick played 15 minutes, scoring seven points. His injury last year has limited his abilities on the court. At some point he could return to the form he had before the All Star Game last year when he was scoring in double figures and getting about one steal per game.

What made the Jazz a tough team to defend was their offense. In every quarter they had three to four players scoring consistently, from just about everywhere on the floor. Enes Kantor, Dante Exum, Alec Burks and Trey Burke all had good nights Monday and their style of play almost won the game for the Jazz.

This game could have gone either way, neither team dominated. Next time these two teams meet November 29 in Utah, it could easily be a Jazz win.

Claudia Gestro
Claudia Gestro

The final score was 107-101 Clippers, who are now 3-1 on the season.

Notable points about the game: The Clippers bench scored 39 points; Jamal Crawford surpassed 15,000 career points; Blake Griffin had 31 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots and Chris Paul got his first Triple Double with the Clippers, and the first in the NBA this season, scoring 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

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The next game for the Clippers is Wednesday, November 5 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA against the Golden State Warriors, who are 3-0 so far this season.

The Utah Jazz will be back at home Wednesday in Salt Lake City at the EnergySolutions Arena to face the Cleveland Cavaliers.