Clippers play very solid first half, hold on to defeat Utah 107-101

first_imgHe was pressed to talk about his rebounding.“I just tried to get in there and help,” Paul said. “DeAndre (Jordan) and Blake do a great job on the boards. Coach Doc told us guards that we have to rebound more, so I just try to get in there and help.”Clippers post Jordan had just five rebounds.Paul said his foot is “fine,” but he did get several hours of treatment on it Monday morning.Griffin chimed in on Paul, with a bit of friendly sarcasm.“He’s capable of doing that night in and night out,” he said. “With the way he scores, the way he passes, those are almost guaranteed. You don’t really bat an eye when he’s in double digits with those categories. But he did a great job of coming in and stealing some of our rebounds.”Griffin was smiling.The Clippers (3-1), who next play Wednesday at Golden State, shot 50.6 percent from the field, 43.5 (11 of 23) from 3-point range. Utah (1-3) shot 46.8 percent, 37 percent (10 of 27) from beyond the arc.The Clippers led 26-20 after one quarter and 56-43 at halftime. They took a 15-point lead at the outset of the third quarter, but Utah tied the game 62-62 with 4:34 left in the quarter. Only Reggie Bullock’s 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the quarter allowed the Clippers to take a 73-70 lead into the fourth quarter.Bullock scored 12 big points off the bench, all on 3-pointers. Jamal Crawford, bruised ribs and all, contributed 19 points and surpassed the 15,000-point mark in his career.Gordon Hayward led Utah (1-3) with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting, 5 of 12 from 3-point range. He, too, applauded the job done on the boards by Paul.“When he’s going after rebounds like that, I guess it’s hard for our bigs to crash (the glass),” Hayward said. “A lot of those rebounds were defensive (all of them were). So when our bigs are crashing, that can be a load down there. And he did a good job of coming in and getting the rebounds that his bigs didn’t get.”Bottom line, there was some progress made by the Clippers in this one. Rivers noticed.“Yeah, expect for that one stretch,” he said, when asked if this was his team’s most complete game so far. “We just keep having these stretches. And this one was a little more frustrating because we were getting great shots.” Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder was fielding questions from reporters before his team took on the Clippers on Monday night at Staples Center. One asked Quin what he is seeing from the Clippers right now.“The same thing we’ve seen for a while,” he said. “They’re a very good team that’s incredibly balanced offensively, great leadership, ability to change the game defensively. Their break is very unique in that they can push it on the dribble. They have a big in Blake (Griffin) who can push the ball himself. “Also if you look at the outlets, they’re outletting the ball to mid-court.”Snyder described the team the Clippers can be, not what they looked like through the first three regular-season games following a 2-6 record in the preseason. At least, not consistently. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img The Clippers then went out and, save for losing all of a 15-point third-quarter lead, played their best ball of the young campaign, defeating the Jazz 107-101 before a sellout crowd of 19,060 at Staples Center.Griffin led the Clippers with 31 points on 14-of-21 shooting; he also grabbed nine rebounds. But Chris Paul was the star of this show. Playing with a mildly sprained left foot, he had his first triple-double since the 2011 postseason. Paul scored 13 points, doled out 12 assists and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.“That’s who he is,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Paul. “He is just a tough guy, a warrior, and you love having him on your team. That is just a 6-foot guard getting a triple-double. It is really impressive.”Asked to talk about his triple-double, Paul was humble.“We won,” he said. “I mean, it’s not the first one. I think it would have sucked had we lost. But we won, so that’s all that matters.”last_img

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