Recap: ‘Vintage’ Blake Griffin carries Clippers over Jazz, 101-97



Like almost every other game this past season, it wasn’t easy, but the Clippers were able to get it down against Utah down the stretch. Tied 77 going into the final quarter, defense paved the way for Los Angeles, holding Utah to 27 percent shooting (Gordon Hayward – 22 points through quarter 1-3, 0 in 4th), while Blake Griffin’s 12 points in the quarter was the icing on the victory cake.


The Clippers beating the Jazz is nothing new of late. Last night’s victory marks the third this season and 12th straight victory over the Jazz. The last time the Jazz beat the Clippers? In January 2012 behind 20 points from Paul Millsap and 19 points from C.J. Miles off the bench. The Clippers are still a long ways from tying the career series between the two franchise (currently 71 wins to 98 losses).


With two pointers made against the Jazz, Jamal Crawford tied former Sacramento Kings legend Peja Stojakovic for 9th all-time in three-pointers made at 1760. If Crawford continues his streak, he could find himself 7th behind Vince Carter and ahead of Chauncey Billups by the end of the season. Crawford also recently surpassed Corey Maggette to become 2nd in three-pointers made as a Clipper with 373 — Eric Piatkowski is first with 738.


After missing the previous nine games, center Spencer Hawes returned to the game. In 12 minutes of play, Hawes finished with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks while posting a game-high plus-minus of 10.


It’s high praise when you mention “Vintage” Blake Griffin. It’s no secret Griffin hasn’t followed up last seasons efforts with an even output, but tonight against the Jazz, we saw a lot of last years Griffin rather than this years iteration. Looking to spare minutes with Paul on the bench to start the Clippers, Griffin effortlessly took over the game, scoring 12 points to keep the team afloat (and almost decimated Enes Kanter with a Timofey Mozgov-esque dunk attempt). Overall, Griffin was the do-everything forward we’ve come to know him as, posting a nifty stat line of 24 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. The last Clipper to post at least 24pts-6rebs-7asts-2stls-3blks? Elton Brand in 2007 with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks.


While a lot of attention is being paid to Blake Griffin’s increase of mid-range jump shots, another area of his game has risen: assists. With 7 assists, Griffin has posted his 6th straight game with 5+ assists, the longest streak of his career. The six straight games also makes Griffin the only big man to hit the mark this season, the closest being DeMarcus Cousins who posted 5+ assists for 3 straight games).


With a win over the Jazz, the Clippers are now 21-11 on the season and one game behind the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. With slippage to the Mavericks, Rockets, and Grizzlies over the past few weeks, a win streak could propel the Clippers to the top-4 portion of the Western Conference (2 games behind Memphis), putting them in place for home court come playoff time.


With no time to rest, the Clippers make a quick turnaround to face the 5-28 New York Knicks. For those who are interested in story lines, tonight’s matchup will be the first time Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson is facing the Knicks being fired this past off-season. Last season, the Clippers swept the season series 2-0 over the Knicks, winning each game by 13+ points.

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