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Clippers win another close one in Utah to extend winning streak to 16 games
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Los Angeles Clippers extended their winning streak to 16 straight games Friday night.

L.A. rallied from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter and escaped EnergySolutions Arena with a 116-114 victory over the Jazz.

It was the Clippers' second win in 25 days against Utah. The two victories have come by a combined three points.

In this game, Chris Paul scored 29 points and Blake Griffin added 22.

Paul buried two free throws, which came after a controversial foul call on the Jazz's Al Jefferson with 3.4 seconds left, to snap a 114-114 tie.

With the Clippers looking for a final shot, Paul drove off a screen by DeAndre Jordan. Jefferson reached out and was called for a foul by official Matt Boland.

"... I could tell [Jefferson] was going to try and blitz me," said Paul, who made 13 of his 14 free-throw attempts in the game. "Any time two guys try and trap me, I'm always going to attack the slower guy."

Paul suggested that, even if Jefferson had not been called for the foul, he was in the clear and probably would have scored.

"I was around Al, anyway," he said.

The Clippers were outplayed in the first half and found themselves trailing, 74-55, early in the third quarter.

Then, they converted 12 of 13 possessions to get back in the game.

Said Griffin: "We just got stops defensively. They were hitting shots [but] we got stops and then starting hitting shots. Everything is going to balance out. Some nights we might not have it for all four quarters. You might have it for two. But you have to make the most of it and that's what we did."

After a slow start, the Clippers shot 49.4 percent for the game. They scored 68 points in the second half.

"It was a good test," said coach Vinny Del Negro. "... At times we didn't play our best basketball. Give credit to Utah. But our guys battled back. They found a way to win and that's what it's all about. They stayed together, weathered the storm and gave us a chance."

luhm@sltrib.com

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