SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Marvin Williams sat in front of his locker with a bag of ice on covering his right hand.
Teammates joked that he just needed to cool off after scoring 18 points to help the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Clippers 99-91 on Saturday night.
“No, it’s not that,” Williams smiled. “I just jammed my pinkie finger in the third quarter, but nothing serious.”
The Jazz traded Devin Harris for Williams in the offseason hoping for a reliable spot-up shooter to take the pressure off the Utah post players. Williams made 3-of-4 from 3-point range and added eight rebounds and four steals for the Jazz.
“He makes shots,” Utah coach Ty Corbin said. “He’s a willing and capable shooter so we’ll look to get him the ball in the right situations.”
The Jazz starters played extensive minutes and all five had reached double figures in scoring before the Clippers mounted a fourth-quarter comeback.
“There were times when we were hitting on all cylinders, looking pretty good and other times, I thought, ‘Holy Cow, we got a lot to work on,’” said Gordon Hayward, who had 13 points.
Mo Williams was fouled behind the arc just before the end of the third quarter and made all three free throws to give Utah an 80-65 advantage. Mo Williams, who played with the Clippers last season, finished with 10 points and eight assists.
DeAndre Jordan slammed home a Chris Paul miss to trim Utah’s lead to 87-80 with 5:35 to play as the Jazz featured their reserves in the fourth period. But Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors made big baskets to hold off Los Angeles.
Matt Barnes scored 22 points while Paul had 17 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who rested three starters.
“I haven’t played with a point guard like Chris since I played with Steve Nash. So it’s good to be able to run hard and get rewarded at the same time,” Barnes said.
In his most extensive action of the preseason, Paul looked more comfortable handling the ball with the thumb brace he has used since surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on Aug. 21.
In the closing moments, Darnell Jackson took exception to Clippers players pawing at the ball while he was trying to run out the clock. The journeyman was ejected for throwing an elbow with 3.7 seconds to play.
“It’s a man’s sport. It gets physical now and then,” Jackson said.
It’s especially physical between these two teams. The Clippers defeated the Jazz 96-94 on Wednesday.
“Man, I don’t why it’s so intense. Maybe because we’ve seen each other so much lately,” said Alec Burks, who scored 8 of his 10 points in the final period.
Starters Blake Griffin, Willie Green, and Caron Butler joined injured players Chauncey Billups, Grant Hill and Lamar Odom as Clipper regulars who sat out the preseason contest.
Eric Bledsoe had 14 points and Jordan had 13 for the Clippers, who shot 51.5 percent.
But the Jazz outrebounded the Clippers 50-35, including an 18-4 advantage on the offensive boards, and consistently beat them to loose balls on their way to 13 steals.
Paul Millsap had 12 points and nine rebounds and Al Jefferson and added 10 each as the Jazz followed a regular season type of rotation until the fourth quarter.