Down the stretch, the Jazz just didn’t have the horses.
Turning to their stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers outplayed Utah in the final minutes Wednesday night and scored a 107-105 victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
Paul scored 12 of his 34 points in the final 6:44 and Griffin converted a three-point play with 21.9 seconds left to lead the Clippers to their first victory in Utah since 2003.
“They have guys who can make big shots,” said C.J. Miles. “At the end, that’s what they did.”
The Clippers used a 16-7 run to take a 92-87 lead with 4:23 remaining, when Paul hit a layup.
The Jazz fought back, however. It was 94-92 with 1:28 left to play when Paul Millsap got the ball on the clock against Griffin. As Millsap spun to the rim, Griffin crashed to the floor.
Millsap’s shot fell into the basket, but the chance for a go-ahead three-point play disappeared when he was called for an offensive foul.
“We have to deal with it,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “I would like to see it go the other way, but it didn’t.”
On the next possession, Paul hit a 19-foot jumper to make it 96-92.
After Al Jefferson’s two free throws, the Jazz got the defensive stop they needed when Paul missed a jumper.
L.A.’s Mo Williams grabbed the long rebound, though, as he was fouled by Miles. It was the Clippers’ fifth offensive rebound of the fourth quarter, and Williams hit two more free throws to make it 98-94.
Still, the Jazz had a chance.
After Jefferson scored, the Jazz pressed and the Clippers got the ball to Griffin — a 50 percent free-throw shooter.
Instead of quickly fouling, however, Griffin was allowed to take the ball all the way to the basket. Jefferson did not foul hard enough to prevent him from scoring, and Griffin’s three-point play made it 101-96.
“Al didn’t want to come out too soon,” Corbin said, pointing out that the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan was behind Jefferson, waiting for a possible lob.
Utah’s final chance ended when Miles made one free throw with 1.2 seconds remaining.
He missed the second, hoping the Jazz could rebound and tie the two-point game, but it ended as players fought for control of the ball.
“It’s not something you practice — how to miss a free throw,” Miles said. “I probably should have shot it higher to give us a better chance. I tried to tell myself how to miss it but it’s something that’s hard to do. I was scared if I shot it higher I’d make it.”
Jazz at Warriors
P At Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.
Tipoff • Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM
Records • Jazz 12-8, Warriors 7-12
Last meeting • Jazz, 88-87 (Jan. 7)
About the Jazz • Utah slipped to sixth place in the Western Conference standings after Wednesday night’s home loss to the Clippers. … Jazz guard Raja Bell (strained right adductor) missed his second consecutive contest and will not travel with the team to Oakland.
About the Warriors • Golden State has won two of three. … The Warriors entered Wednesday ranked third out of 30 teams in average assists (22.7) but 28th in points allowed (99.2). … Monta Ellis tops Golden State in scoring (20.8), while David Lee holds the lead in rebounds (9.9).
A closer look
• The Clippers’ Chris Paul scores 12 points in the final 6:44.
• The Jazz allow five offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.
• L.A. makes six straight free throws in the final 30.7 seconds.