Sob City: Utah Jazz fly by Los Angeles Clippers in 108-79 blowout
High-flying Utah dunks on much-hyped Los Angeles Clippers.
Published: January 18, 2012 11:01PM
Updated: January 18, 2012 10:57AM
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Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah's Devin Harris heads up court during first half action of the Utah Jazz versus Los Angeles Clippers game at EnergySolutions Arean in Salt Lake City, Utah Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

Lob City was grounded. Lob Angeles never shined.

In their place: A selfless, hard-working, gritty Jazz team that threw the first punch Tuesday, kept on jabbing and never backed down.

Coach Tyrone Corbin’s crew received a standing ovation late in the third quarter. Midway through the fourth, the Jazz delivered a knockout. The remainder was just fallout — and a surreal, nonstop highlight reel of alley-oop slams and fast-break dunks.

How high-flying was Utah’s 108-79 blowout victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at EnergySolutions Arena before a crowd of 19,371?

A Jazz public relations employee announced after the game how many slams Utah threw down the Clippers’ throats: eight.

Which is the exact amount of contests the Jazz have won in their last nine. Throw in a three-game winning streak and a near-perfect 7-1 home record, and an unproven Utah (9-4) team is suddenly starting to create expectations.

After blacking out The Blake Show, the Jazz jumped into second place in the Western Conference. In third? The Los Angeles Lakers, who dealt Utah its only loss of the season, via a last-minute overtime defeat.

The rebuilding Jazz are as hot as Chicago and Oklahoma City. And when they run and gun like they did Tuesday, a team featuring four NBA draft lottery picks from 2010 and 2011 looks years ahead of schedule.

“It was a great effort for 48 minutes,” Corbin said. “We continue to do what we talk about and get better. That’s creating the tempo on the defensive end of the floor — active hands — and guys staying in front of their men. I though it was great execution of our game plan.”

Paul Millsap’s game-high 20 points led the Jazz, who scored 56 points in the paint and led by 34 late during the fourth quarter. A recharged C.J. Miles added 19 points off the bench.

Caron Butler’s team-high 14 points topped the Clippers (7-4), who shot just 36.5 percent while playing without All-Star guard Chris Paul.

“They were way more aggressive,” Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Give Utah credit. … They were more physical than we were and we were playing catch-up the whole night.”

Two days after recording their best win of the season — a 106-96 road win Sunday in Denver — the Jazz again raised the bar. And the roof. ESA rocked harder than it has all season, and reserve forward Jeremy Evans single-handedly delivered an All-Star worthy selection of slams to the NBA front office.

Before the game, Jamaal Tinsley and several of Evans’ teammates continued to pump him up for the dunk contest. Once the game clock started ticking, Evans made the Clippers’ Blake Griffin an afterthought.

Griffin’s reaction to the beatdown: “It was ugly.”

Evans saw beauty.

“It’s real fun,” he said. “Especially when you’re getting alley-oops and dunks and the crowd’s into it. That’s all you want.”

All Corbin has wanted since last season ended was effort and execution. He spent the NBA lockout figuring out how to move the Jazz forward. He entered training camp asking players to compete for every minute and fight for every shot. After being blown out by an average of 19 points during three losses in four games to start the season, the Jazz have answered Corbin’s call.

Point guard Devin Harris cautioned that being second in the West only 13 games into the season “means nothing at this point.” Utah has yet to prove itself on the road, and the Jazz have had the “benefit” of mostly playing on their home court during their run.

But everyone from Harris and Raja Bell to Evans and Tinsley sees clear improvement in their team.

Utah has changed. It’s one of the hottest teams in the NBA. And when the Jazz are on, they’re flying. Racing down the court, leaping through the air and showing an early glimpse of what was supposed stay wrapped up until 2012-13, at the earliest.

“It’s fun. It’s fun just to see the success of their work,” Corbin said. “That’s what we’ll continue to do. We’ll continue to work, to get better and play hard every night, and the wins will take care of themselves.”

bsmith@sltrib.com

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Storylines

R In short • The Jazz deflate Lob City, blowing out the Clippers by 29 points.

Key stat • Utah committed just eight turnovers and hit 27 of 31 free throws.

Key moment • The Jazz close the third quarter on a 10-4 run, taking a 19-point lead into the final period.

Jazz 108, Clippers 79

FG FT Reb

L.A.C. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Butler 29:14 6-13 2-2 1-2 1 0 14

Griffin 27:04 5-12 0-0 3-11 3 2 10

Jordan 20:58 1-1 0-0 1-8 0 2 2

Billups 24:03 3-12 4-6 0-2 6 4 10

Foye 29:27 4-14 0-0 0-0 1 4 11

REvans 21:11 0-1 1-2 3-9 0 3 1

Gomes 28:29 4-6 0-0 1-2 1 1 8

Fortson 22:45 5-10 2-5 2-4 2 1 13

Thmpkns 19:16 2-10 3-4 0-4 1 2 7

Leslie 10:02 1-6 0-0 2-2 2 1 2

Jones 7:31 0-0 1-2 0-1 0 1 1

Totals 240:00 31-85 13-21 13-45 17 21 79

Percentages: FG .365, FT .619. 3-Point Goals: 4-20, .200 (Foye 3-6, Fortson 1-2, Gomes 0-2, Thompkins 0-2, Billups 0-4, Butler 0-4). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 14 (15 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (Foye, Griffin, Jones, Jordan, Leslie). Turnovers: 13 (Billups 3, R.Evans 2, Fortson 2, Foye 2, Butler, Griffin, Leslie, Thompkins). Steals: 4 (Butler, Foye, Gomes, Thompkins). Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hayward 17:38 0-4 3-4 0-3 0 0 3

Millsap 30:05 7-11 6-6 1-6 1 3 20

Jefferson 26:25 4-14 2-2 2-13 4 2 10

Harris 25:41 5-9 2-2 0-1 4 1 13

Bell 28:44 3-8 1-1 0-2 1 1 8

Watson 17:39 1-1 1-2 2-4 3 2 3

Kanter 22:19 4-7 2-2 3-5 0 3 10

Miles 28:42 7-13 4-4 0-5 1 4 19

Burks 19:16 3-9 5-6 1-6 1 2 11

JEvans 17:12 4-4 1-2 0-3 1 2 9

Tinsley 6:20 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 0 2

Totals 240:01 39-82 27-31 9-48 18 20 108

Percentages: FG .476, FT .871. 3-Point Goals: 3-8, .375 (Bell 1-2, Harris 1-2, Miles 1-3, Hayward 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 8 (7 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (J.Evans 2, Watson 2, Tinsley). Turnovers: 8 (Harris 3, J.Evans, Hayward, Jefferson, Tinsley, Watson). Steals: 10 (Miles 4, Millsap 2, Watson 2, Jefferson, Tinsley). Technical Fouls: None.

L.A. Clippers 17 24 18 20 — 79

Utah 29 23 26 30 — 108

Attendance • 19,371

Time • 2:10.

Officials • David Jones, Kevin Fehr, Courtney Kirkland.