Jamal Crawford, Cole Aldrich have big nights in Clippers’ win at Utah

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Jamal Crawford scored 30 points, grabbed five rebounds and doled out four assists; Cole Aldrich scored 21, grabbed 18 rebounds and made five steals; and Paul Pierce scored 18 points as the Clippers won 102-99 in overtime Friday night at Utah.

The Clippers (51-28) did not have the services of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Wes Johnson – all rested. With Austin Rivers sidelined with an ankle injury, that left them with nine players, and they all played.

Pablo Prigioni joined Crawford, Aldrich, Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute in the starting lineup and scored 13 points while doling out seven assists and grabbing seven rebounds.

Gordon Hayward led Utah (39-40) with 24 points. This loss hurts the Jazz because they are in the eighth and final playoff spot, just one game ahead of Houston (38-41).

As for the Clippers, they have clinched the No. 4 spot in the West and will stay there. They are waiting to see whether they will play Portland  or Memphis in the first round. The No. 5 Trail Blazers (43-37) moved a half-game ahead of the No. 6 Grizzlies (42-37) with the Grizzlies’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Blake Griffin scores 20 points, Clippers and Jazz tied 45-45 at half

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Blake Griffin scored 20 points in the first half Wednesday and the Clippers and Utah Jazz were tied 45-45 at the intermission.

Chris Paul contributed eight points and six assists and DeAndre Jordan had six points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

The Clippers (7-7) shot 47.5 percent, 0 percent (0 of 6) from 3-point range. They were outrebounded 28-20.

Gordon Hayward led Utah (6-7) with 16 points and six rebounds and Derrick Favors scored eight points.

The Jazz shot 42.2 percent, 42.9 (3 of 7) from beyond the arc.


Doc Rivers anticipates that Utah Jazz at some point will be very good

Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz/Photo courtesy of ESPN.com


The Utah Jazz were impressive in their 101-97 defeat at the hands of the Clippers on Monday at Staples Center. Missing one of their two point guards – Alec Burks – to injury, they gave the Clippers everything they wanted. Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the Jazz will soon be a force with which to be reckoned.

“I like this young team,” Rivers said after his team had escaped with the victory. “They are going to be a really good team. They have two very good big men, and they have a great point guard. (Gordon) Hayward is also obviously good. (Rodney) Hood is going to be a good player, too. They are a young and athletic team.”

It wasn’t clear which point guard Rivers was speaking of; the other one is Trey Burke. The two big men are Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert. Kanter is 6-foot-11, Gobert is 7-1.

As for Hayward, he is Rivers’ man-crush. The 6-8 small forward – in his fifth season – is averaging 19.0 points. He’s just 24.

There is only one player on the Jazz over 30 and that is reserve small forward Steve Novak, who is 31.

Burke is 22, Burks is 23, Gobert is 22, Kanter is 22, Hood is 22, starting power forward Derrick Favors is 23 and reserve shooting guard Dante Exum is just 19.

The Jazz are 10-21, but had won four of five before Monday. One of those victories was at Memphis.

Big games from Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford lead to victory at Utah

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 28 points in Saturday’s victory at Utah/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com


When the Clippers embarked on their seven-game road trip, it didn’t seem like the best time because they were struggling and coming off a 105-89 loss at home to Chicago on Nov. 17.

But many of the Clippers said ahead of the road trip it could be a good thing because it could bring the team together. Perhaps, they were right.

The Clippers on Saturday night completed their road trip with a 112-96 victory at Utah. That gave the Clippers a 6-1 record on the trip, the lone loss coming at Memphis – the team with the NBA’s best record.

Blake Griffin scored 28 points on 13 of 18 shooting and sixth-man Jamal Crawford scored 22 on 8 of 17 from the field. Crawford was 4 of 9 from 3-point range as the Clippers shot 39.3 (11 of 28) from beyond the arc. They shot 56.3 percent overall.

Also, Chris Paul scored 17 points and doled out 10 assists, J.J. Redick scored 13, backup point guard Jordan Farmar scored 10 points and had two assists, DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 12 rebounds and Matt Barnes scored eight.

Utah’s Gordon Hayward led everyone with 30 points. The Jazz are 5-12.

The Clippers left 5-4 and will come home 11-5.

Among the six victories, none would qualify as really terrific because the best team in there – Houston – was missing three starters. Of the remaining five wins, four came against teams that will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.

Still, the Clippers are looking smooth.