Without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers (AP) will need the rest of their roster to step up. On Monday, both Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson contributed with their highest-scoring games of the season.
With 30 points from Powell off the bench and 27 from Jackson, the Clippers rallied to beat the Utah Jazz 121-114 in the final quarter. I have to give props to the group. After the Clippers’ third straight victory, head coach Tyronn Lue remarked, “No matter who’s on the floor, we always feel like we have a chance to win.” Even though it’s not easy and never looks good, we always seem to figure out a way to get it done. Every night a new set of boys take the stage.
When asked who they thought sealed the deal offensively, Norman and Reggie were credited. George hurt his right hamstring and had to sit out Saturday’s victory over the Spurs but Leonard who missed all of last season with a knee injury scored eight points and five assists in 23 minutes.
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It was late in the third quarter, and the Jazz had a 93-86 lead, but a 20-8 run by the Clippers within six minutes gave them the lead back.
The final 12 minutes saw Powell and Jackson combine for 19 points (9 for Powell, 8 for Jackson). The Clippers were successful in causing six turnovers for the Jazz and they also limited Utah to shooting just 7-of-20 from the field.
There was no sense of urgency, so we kept calm. According to Jackson, who has scored at least 20 points in three consecutive games, “our coaches called some timeouts at the correct spots and let us figure things out as a group, go out there and compete.“
The Clippers, who have won four straight games thanks to Ivica Zubac’s 14 points and 14 rebounds, have won four of their previous five games. To lead Utah in scoring was Jordan Clarkson with 26 points, while Lauri Markkanen added 25 points and 10 boards. Despite a 10-3 start to the season, the Jazz has lost four of their last six games.
I can’t stand games like that. We were outstanding for stretches and abysmal for others. Utah head coach Will Hardy admitted afterward that the play was responsible for his team’s loss.
At the end of the first quarter, the Clippers’ lead was double digits. After a slow start, the Jazz began to make a comeback with 5:47 left in the first half thanks to a 3-pointer by Powell that cut the deficit to 55-38. At one point in the second quarter, Utah scored eight straight points to cut their deficit to 66-56, which was their score going into the break.
When the third quarter was halfway over, Los Angeles led 80-70. However Utah went on a 23-6 run, highlighted by seven points from Markkanen and six from Talen Horton-Tucker.
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Markkanen praised the team’s third-quarter performance, saying, “We did a tremendous job coming out of the locker room and giving us a chance to win the game.” Film from the fourth quarter will be reviewed to see where the team can improve. I believe we have made several mistakes that are simple to fix.
Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points for the Jazz, and Trae Horton-Tucker added 14 points off the bench. … Jarred Vanderbilt pulled down 10 boards for his team. … 10 of those points came from Collin Sexton. When Mike Conley went down with left knee soreness, it gave rookie Collin Sexton his second start of the year.
John Wall, for the Clippers, had seven of his 13 points in the first quarter, including a half-court shot to close the first. … For the season, Los Angeles’s 12 offensive boards were a record.
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