Clippers, Griffin frustrate Utah Jazz
Los Angeles •Â Blake Griffin took off from a step inside the free-throw line, soaring through the air and throwing down a one-handed dunk that dazzled everyone at Staples Center.
Well, everyone but the Utah Jazz.
The Los Angeles Clippers star's dunk broke a 90-90 tie, and started an 8-0 L.A. run that doomed the Jazz on Saturday night.
With Jazz forward Derrick Favors on the bench with foul trouble for much of the night, Griffin took full advantage and finished with 10 rebounds and a game-high 40 points in the 98-90 victory.
"Take nothing away from him," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "I thought Enes [Kanter] did a good job, the guys did a good job of fighting him. â¦ But he made some plays."
A lot of them.
After Jazz forwards Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson hit back-to-back 3s, tying the game at 56, Griffin and the Clippers got going.
Griffin threw down a reverse dunk on an alley-oop pass from Jamal Crawford, then he threw down a one-handed slam while getting fouled Â all part of a 9-0 L.A. run.
Coming off a thrilling win over the Lakers on Friday night in Salt Lake City, the Jazz weren't able to stop the other team from L.A., dropping to 9-24 on the season.
Favors' foul trouble opened the door for more minutes for Kanter, who finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds in what Corbin said he thought was the third-year center's most complete game of the year.
"He played a good game on both ends of the floor," the Jazz coach said. "He was the beast that we're looking forward to him being."
Kanter was crucial as the Jazz fought their way back into the game multiple times Saturday. He worked patiently in the post for buckets and fought hard for rebounds.
After another L.A. run, the Jazz showed a poise they lacked earlier in the year and mounted another rally.
With a chance to tie the game at 90, rookie point guard Trey Burke had the ball stripped as he drove in the lane. On the ensuing play, Burke stole the ball back and knotted the game up with a trip to the free-throw line.
That's when All-Star point guard Chris Paul and Griffin worked the pick-and-roll for the slam dunk. If that play didn't break Utah's back for good, Paul pick-pocketed Kanter on the inbounds and found Crawford in the corner for a dagger 3.
"We made some mistakes down the stretch, but our performance overall is getting better, getting more consistent," Corbin said.
Paul finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as the Clippers improved to 21-11 on the year.
Crawford added 13 points for L.A.
For Utah, Jefferson and Williams each scored 15 points in the game.
Utah's leading scorers on the year, Gordon Hayward and Burke, struggled to get going against the Clippers.
Burke and Hayward each had just two first half-points, waiting until the final 90 seconds of the half to score their first buckets. The Jazz duo finished a combined 7 of 25 from the floor for 21 points.
Favors, who had the game-winning putback Friday night against the Lakers, managed just four points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes Saturday.
Backup guard Alec Burks had eight points, five assists and three rebounds.
The Jazz now return to Salt Lake City for a rematch with Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats. Utah beat the 'Cats 88-85 on the road earlier this month.
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