Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, middle, struggles against Utah Jazz guard Earl Watson, left, and forward Derrick Favors for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Slow start dooms Utah Jazz vs. L.A. Clippers

L.A. completes season sweep of Utah, which can’t manage a rally after poor first quarter.

First Published Feb 23 2013 11:21 pm • Last Updated Feb 25 2013 02:25 pm

Los Angeles • Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

The Utah Jazz dug themselves a big hole in the first quarter, fought back, then were outworked in the third quarter Saturday in a 107-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

At a glance

Storylines Jazz fall short

The Jazz overcome an 11-point first-half deficit to lead by 3, but fall behind again in the third quarter.

» Chris Paul finishes with 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Jazz, who have struggled with slow starts this season, may have set a new standard against the Clippers. In the first quarter they were outscored 17-6 and Paul Millsap scored 15 of the team’s first 16 points. In the third, it was worse. The Clippers outscored the Jazz 19-2 to start the second half.

"We can’t let this happen," said Gordon Hayward, who led the Jazz with 23 points. "We’ve got to come out with energy, especially in the second half. That’s when teams at home try to put you away."

As has become a tradition, the Jazz bench bailed out the reserves in the first half. Three starters — Randy Foye, Marvin Williams and Jamaal Tinsley — did not score in the game. Asked if he would consider changing his starting lineup, coach Tyrone Corbin said, "When you don’t play your best game, you ponder a lot of things."

But Corbin was quick not too hang the loss entirely on his first group.

"It’s one game," he said, "and the starting group just didn’t get it going."

In honor of Sunday’s Academy Awards, consider this image from Saturday the game’s best picture: A high-flying Alec Burks going up for a dunk, and being fouled hard by Blake Griffin. Griffin dismissed Burks with his off hand and stood straddled the Jazz guard, looking down sympathetically as Burks writhed on the ground.

Fitting, no?

The Jazz, playing just their second game in 10 days, trailed by as much as 21 points and did not lead after being up 49-46 late in the first half. The Jazz lead the NBA with 13 comeback wins after trailing by at least 10 points, but have also consistently given back big leads after recovering from them.

story continues below
story continues below

Saturday’s was not an original script.

"I feel like we’ve got to realize we’re playing for something," Earl Watson said. "We’re trying to move up, we’re not trying to stay stagnant. We’re not trying to be content with where we’re at. Sometimes we’ve got to just take it."

As the Jazz start to consider potential first-round opponents, the Clippers don’t look too appealing, despite assurances by Al Jefferson and Hayward that if they meet again, the result could be different.

The Clippers are one of only two Western Conference teams the Jazz have not beaten — Memphis is the other — and the Jazz were swept in the season series against the Clippers for the first time since 1978-79.

"I wasn’t even alive 34 years ago," Jefferson said. "So it really don’t matter back then. But we had a chance in every game we played them."

Chris Paul, fresh off an MVP performance in last week’s All-Star game, recorded 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as he continued his season-long tormenting of the Jazz.

Caron Butler led the Clippers with 21 points, while Griffin and a resurgent Lamar Odom both scored 18.

Hayward was one of the few bright spots for the Jazz — their best producer, if you will. The guard continued his strong play in his second game back after missing 10 with a sprained right shoulder. His 13 made free throws were a career high, as were 14 attempts.

However, like his teammates, Hayward struggled from outside, finishing 0 for 2 from 3-point range. As a team, the Jazz were 1 for 15.

"Missed a lot of shots," Jefferson said. "Not just 3-point shots."

Millsap finished with just 19 points, Jefferson added 16 and Enes Kanter scored 15.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.