The doubters have insisted that the Los Angeles Clippers are not playing challenging teams, which is why they have been able to maintain their franchise-record winning streak. But if there was any game that should silence the haters, it was tonight’s game. Tonight’s hard-fought 116-114 victory against the Utah Jazz improves the Clippers’ winning streak to 16-straight.
From the very beginning, it was clear that the Jazz were out for revenge. Down by 7 points at the end of the first quarter, the Jazz went on to score 36 points in the second quarter, taking the lead to 58-48 at halftime.
Now, I’m not normally one to talk poorly of officials. But it seemed to me (at least for the first half of the game) that the men-in-stripes were feeling a bit…Jazzy. Whatever defense the Clippers tried to play in the first half- which, to be fair, wasn’t much- seemed to be curtailed by the threat of fouls being called on them. On top of that, the Clippers were beating themselves, turning the ball over 11 times in the first half alone. It was sloppy. It was ugly.
But despite that, credit must be given where credit is due. In the first half, the Jazz did a great job of throwing the Clippers off their game. The Clippers have gotten used to dictating the momentum of the game with steals, fast breaks, and easy (often flashy) points. But the Jazz wouldn’t allow it, forcing the Clippers to earn each and every point.
And so, in the second half, the Clippers decided that’s exactly what they would do. Battling back from a 19-point deficit, they proved their grit and came out with a win in a place where they have historically struggled.
For the Clippers, Chris Paul led the team with 29 points, including the final 7 that sealed the deal. Blake Griffin followed the 22 points and 13 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan put up 16 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Jazz, former Clipper Randy Foye led the team with 28 points, and Al Jefferson followed with 22 points and 8 rebounds.
After two games in a row, the Clippers take a much deserved break, but I imagine that it won’t be a peaceful one. The Clippers take on the Jazz again on Sunday, but this time at home in the Staples Center. It won’t be pretty, but I can guarantee it sure will be exciting.