Game Recap: Clippers 89, Jazz 102


77. Final. 102. 118. 89

Scoring Leaders: Blake Griffin (LAC) – 31, Trey Burke (UTA) – 17
Assist Leaders: Chris Paul (LAC) – 11, Trey Burke (UTA) – 8
Rebound Leaders: DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – 8, Rudy Gobert (UTA) – 20

Three games, three loses.

Yes, this is the preseason. Yes, these games don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But after three games, the Clippers have yet to resemble the team that walked off the floor in the postseason nor have they resembled a team that looks primed to compete for a NBA championship.

Live Feed

The Clippers' new Kawhi and Paul George strategy might just work
The Clippers' new Kawhi and Paul George strategy might just work /

Hoops Habit

  • 4 Teams that need to trade for Hawks' Trae Young immediatelySoaring Down South
  • 4 Trae Young trades the Hawks should considerFanSided
  • These NBA stars might switch teams sooner rather than laterAll U Can Heat
  • LA Clippers are healthy and should be back on NBA Championship watchSir Charles In Charge
  • 1 advantage the Warriors have over each Pacific Division teamFanSided
  • But it’s preseason and that’s enough to hinge on without entering panic mode.

    Against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers struggled out the gates, being down by 19 in the second quarter at one point. Thanks to a Blake GriffinJ.J. Redick takeover (the two combined for 36 points in the final three quarters, 25 belonging to Griffin), the bleeding regressed, but this team couldn’t put it together toward the last stretch of the game.

    Give the Utah Jazz credit. With great ball movement and rebounding, they pushed this Clippers team, albeit a Clippers team on the second night of a back to back (or SEGABAB), to the edge. Trey Burke looks to be rounding into form as a point guard. Rodney Hood (12 points, 2-3 from three), despite his defense struggles, will be the beneficiary of many three-point shots as the defense focuses on those around them. And the other two young guns in Dante Exum (9 points, 4 assists) and Rudy Gobert (20 rebounds)? Raw be damned, these two guys are going to be hell for secondary units throughout the season.

    Like the Blazers, the Jazz feasted beyond the arch. In the first half, Utah shot 8-of-17 from three and added six more in the second half. The initial defense from the Clippers is improving, but it’s the secondary rotations that this team finds themselves in a hole and their opponents finds an open shot. And with teams putting a bigger emphasis on three-point shooters, we may see more “46% from three” stat lines throughout the season if this defense keeps up.


    Offensively, the matter seems to be an issue of when, not how, for the Clippers. Through three preseason games, Griffin has averaged 21.3 points on 49 percent shooting. Against the Jazz, Griffin did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, scoring a game-high 31 points. At one point, Griffin was the lone player putting points on the boards for Los Angeles, scoring 15 of the teams 17 points in the second quarter (Jordan scored the other bucket).

    Without Jamal Crawford — and Matt Barnes — it’s easy to ignore the bench’s scoring troubles though no one scored more than 10 points, the most being Spencer Hawes‘ 6 points.

    With five three days off until their next game, it’ll be interesting to see how the Clippers look in a home-and-home against the Jazz, this time returning to the Staples Center. Barring injury, Barnes and Crawford will be back. Maybe even Ekpe Udoh who’s sat the last two games with an ankle injury.

    Then, hopefully, the Clippers will look like the team that won 50-plus games last year.

    Next Game: vs. Utah Jazz (10/17)

    More from Clipperholics