Clippers rally past Jazz for 16th straight win
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Chris Paul scored 29 points, including the deciding free throws in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, as the Los Angeles Clippers put together a fierce rally in the second half to down the Utah Jazz, 116-114, on Friday.
Blake Griffin added 22 points and 13 rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan also contributed a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards for the Clippers, who extended their franchise-best winning streak to 16 games.
The Clippers' 16-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA since the Boston Celtics won 19 straight during the 2008-09 campaign.
"It was a good test. It is always a test for us and at times we didn't play our best basketball by getting beat in the open court. Those are things we usually do to teams," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Give Utah credit, but our guys battled back tonight. They found a way to win and that's what it is all about."
Randy Foye scored a season-high 28 points to pace the Jazz, but his tightly contested 3-pointer as time expired rimmed out to hand Utah its sixth loss in eight games.
Al Jefferson finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Gordon Hayward dropped in 17 points off the bench in a losing effort.
The Clippers trailed, 58-48, at the half and fell behind by as much as 19 in the third quarter before a 21-5 run closed their gap to 79-76 with just under two minutes left in the third.
Paul's fadeaway jumper at the buzzer brought Los Angeles within 88-84 entering the fourth quarter, where Caron Butler capped a 6-2 push with a four-point play to knot the game at 90-90.
Utah responded with five straight points to go back on top, but the Clippers would stay within two possessions from there until Jordan's three-point play was followed by a Jamal Crawford layup to give Los Angeles a 109-106 lead with 3:09 remaining.
Four consecutive points by Jefferson gave the Jazz back a one-point lead before a pair of Paul foul shots with 1:35 left in the game put the Clippers ahead for good.
Utah then had a couple of chances to regain the lead, but Jefferson missed a floater from the lane and a contested Paul Millsap jumper rimmed out around a missed 3-point attempt by Paul to keep it a 111-110 game.
The Jazz were able to tie the game at 114-114 on a pair of Jefferson free throws with 17.1 remaining, but Paul was fouled by Jefferson on the other end while driving toward the lane and he drained both foul shots with 3.4 seconds left.
Foye grabbed the inbounds pass coming out of a timeout and tried to force a foul as he threw a shoulder into a defender while throwing up a 3-pointer, but he did not get the call and the shot banked off the rim to end the game.
"We made some mistakes, but we fought our way through it and had a chance to win the ball game at the end. Unfortunately, they got a lot of free throws," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
The Clippers held a couple of four-point leads in the opening minutes of action until Paul capped a 9-4 spurt with a jumper to hand Los Angeles an 18-11 edge with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.
Utah would get no closer than four points for the remainder of the frame and trailed, 29-22, heading into the second quarter, which the Jazz dominated by a mark of 36-19 en route to a 58-48 lead at the break.
Hayward scored all of his 11 second-quarter points, including a personal 10-2 push, during a 15-2 run that turned a 34-31 deficit into a 46-36 advantage.
Los Angeles shot just 37.5 percent from the floor in the second quarter and turned the ball over eight times, resulting in 13 Utah points.
The Clippers have now won three straight in Utah for the first time since 1980 ... Utah fell to 9-4 at home this season ... Both teams scored 38 points in the paint ... Butler finished with 14 points and Crawford had 12 for the Clippers ... Millsap scored 12 points for the Jazz.