Griffin scores 30, Clippers beat Jazz 105-104
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 30 points, Jamal Crawford added 20 off the bench and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated Utah 105-104 on Monday night to hand the Jazz their first loss at home this season.
Crawford made a pair of free throws late and ex-Clipper Randy Foye countered with a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining. But Foye’s desperation 3 after stealing the ensuing inbounds pass missed its mark.
Mo Williams led the Jazz (9-10) against his former team with 20 points and 12 assists. Foye added 19 points and Al Jefferson had 16 points and 10 rebounds but had a layup blocked by DeAndre Jordan with 26 seconds left that would have tied the score at 101.
It was the third straight victory for the Clippers (11-6).
Chris Paul added 14 points for Los Angeles, with six in the fourth after the Clippers entered the quarter trailing by 10.
The loss was the first at home for Utah since a 107-105 setback against Phoenix on April 4.
Williams was playing for the Clippers then, behind Paul and Chauncey Billups and alongside Foye.
Both players did their best to make sure Los Angeles remembered who they were — especially with the Jazz short-handed Monday because Marvin Williams was out with concussion-like symptoms and Derrick Favors missed his second straight with plantar fasciitis.
Mo Williams gave quick bear hugs to his former teammates before the game, and even extended a hand to help Paul up when he had the ball stolen away in the second quarter.
Otherwise he was all business after being acquired in an offseason trade.
He and Foye just didn’t have enough in the end.
Williams hit his first two shots, both 3-pointers, and had six assists in the first 12 minutes, closing out the quarter with a pinpoint pass down the middle of the lane to Foye. Foye made the easy layup for a 31-19 Utah lead.
Los Angeles turned the table in the fourth, outscoring the Jazz 32-21 to pull out the victory.
The Jazz had a 21-10 edge on rebounding in the first half and 36-20 advantage on points in the paint, But the Clippers won the battle inside in the second half.
The Clippers trailed by 14 points with 2 minutes left in the third, and by 10 entering the fourth. But they scored the first six to pull within 83-79 on Crawford’s 4-footer with 9:40 remaining.
Lamar Odom’s three-point play with 9:11 left made it a one-possession game, 85-82, and the Clippers pulled to 88-87 on Crawford’s 3-pointer with 6:46 left.
Williams’ reverse layup bumped it back to three but Paul countered with a driving layup.
Griffin dunked on an alley-oop pass from Paul to give the Clippers their first lead since the opening possession. Jefferson countered with a slam at the other end and Williams had his finest pass of the night, a behind-the-back gem to Jefferson that the Jazz big man slammed for a 94-91 Utah advantage with 3:56 remaining.
But Crawford’s 3-pointer as the shot clock sounded tied the score at 94.
Paul’s driving layup gave the Clippers a 97-96 lead but Williams hit a desperation 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down for a 99-97 Jazz lead only to foul Billups on a wayward 3-point attempt. Billups sank 2 of 3, leaving the game tied at 99 with 1:14 left.
Paul’s driving layup with 39 seconds left put the Clippers up 101-99 then Jordan made the key block and Matt Barnes sank a pair of free throws to provide just enough cushion.
NOTES: The Jazz honored former University of Utah basketball coach Rick Majerus with a moment of silence before the game. Majerus died Saturday in Los Angeles while awaiting a heart transplant. He was 64. … Former Jazz shot-blocking great Mark Eaton sat next to former coach Jerry Sloan in the stands. … The Jazz made 10 of the first 15 shots and were shooting 66 percent at halftime … The Jazz went on a 14-1 run in the first quarter to take their initial big lead.