Utah Jazz: Blake Griffin leads Clippers over Jazz, 102-87
Published: February 2, 2014 12:44PM
Updated: February 2, 2014 12:37PM
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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, of France, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Hedo Turkoglu, of Turkey, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles • After sitting out Friday night’s loss to Golden State due to injuries, Derrick Favors and Marvin Williams headed out early to the court at Staples Center on Saturday to see if they felt good enough to play.

When they got there, something was missing.

“The court wasn’t there,” Williams said.

As crews prepared the arena for a basketball game after a Saturday afternoon hockey game between the Kings and the Flyers, the Jazz’s warmups were delayed.

And for much of the night they looked as cold as the ice hidden under the hardwood.

The Jazz followed up a disappointing loss to the Warriors by falling 102-87 the Clippers on Saturday.

Utah launched a franchise-record 30 attempts from 3, but shot just 35 percent from the floor overall.

Both teams struggled early. L.A. missed seven of its first eight shots. The Jazz missed on eight of their first 10. And the two sides fought to a 42-42 deadlock at halftime.

But coming out of the locker room, the Clippers started to heat up while the Jazz’s game stayed frigid.

“I thought it was a hard game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You could see it early. We just couldn’t get it going, and I thought our defense tonight was terrific and kept us in the first half. The second half, I thought it won it for us.”

“We just couldn’t finish the game,” said Jazz center Enes Kanter.

With point guard Chris Paul still a week or so away from his return from injury, L.A.’s other All-Star helped take care of business. Blake Griffin scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

It wasn’t the 40-point night that Griffin dropped on the Jazz during their last meeting with the Clippers in Southern California, but it was enough.

Especially with Jamal Crawford coming off the bench to score 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

Griffin ignited the crowd midway through the third quarter when he caught a half-court pass from Crawford, spun in the air and finished the reverse alley-oop. A moment later, Crawford hit a runner and was fouled, pushing the Clippers’ lead to 10.

The Jazz never recovered.

Griffin and Kanter, who started in place of Favors, who missed a second straight game with a sore hip, were locked in a battle during the first half. Kanter scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Griffin countered with 14 points and five boards.

Kanter finished with 23 points and 14 boards.

Jazz forward Richard Jefferson, meanwhile, scored 19.

But the rest of the Jazz couldn’t muster enough help.

Alec Burks, who dropped 26 points the night before in Salt Lake City, was limited to just four points on 1-of-8 shooting.

The Jazz’s starting backcourt of Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward struggled through another poor shooting night. The two combined to go 5 of 26 from the field. Hayward did, however, hit free throws and finished with 15 points. For Burke, it was the fifth time in six games he had not reached double digits in scoring.

With Favors out, the Clippers were content to do their damage inside, outscoring the Jazz 54-30 in the paint.

“Derrick’s a rim protector,” Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. “He’s a shot-blocker for us. He’s a physical specimen also, so he can take the bang and bump inside. … We need him. We need all our pieces.”

Darren Collison added 11 points for L.A.

The Jazz were without forward Jeremy Evans, who stayed behind in Salt Lake for X-rays on his tailbone after a hard fall last night. The X-rays were negative for fractures.

With the loss, Utah dropped to 16-31 on the year. The Jazz now return home for a Monday night game against Toronto. The Raptors, who stomped the Jazz earlier this season in Canada, will be looking to erase the memories a tough 106-103 loss to Portland on Saturday.

afalk@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

Storylines

O Tied at halftime, Utah is outscored 34-23 during the third quarter to lose its second game in as many nights.

•  Jazz shoot 29 percent in the third quarter, as the Clippers begin to run away with the game.