Jamal Crawford turned 36 in March. But the Clippers’ veteran still makes the clutch shots. They don’t come much bigger than the 3-pointer he sank with 0.2 seconds left in Friday’s 102-99 overtime victory at Utah. Check out today’s version of Mr. Clutch:
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.
Chris Paul celebrates during the second half of Saturday’s win at Utah/AP photo by Rick Bowmer
When arguably your best player goes down, someone always has to step up and pick up the slack for a team.
“It’s a cliché, but it is the next-man-up attitude,” Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick said after his team defeated the Utah Jazz 109-104 on Saturday in Utah without leading scorer Blake Griffin, who will be out at least two weeks with a partially torn quad tendon. “Certain nights it might be one guy and another night a different guy. You cannot replace what Blake brings. For however long of a duration it is, whether it is a week or three weeks, we have to all be ready to step in and make big plays.”
Redick mentioned Paul Pierce as one guy who stepped up to the plate. Pierce scored 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting, 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Redick himself also did more than usual, scoring a team-high 25 points on 8 of 11 from the field – 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Although his line score doesn’t really show it, Redick also praised the play of Luc Mbah a Moute on Saturday. He scored seven points with a steal and a block. He had just one rebound, though, in 31 minutes.
Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Paul Pierce was having a rather lousy time of it before Saturday’s game at Utah. He was averaging just 4.0 points while playing 16.1 minutes per game for the Clippers. He was shooting a miserable 30.6 percent from the field – 24.7 (19 of 77) from 3-point range.
Pierce is 38, so the first thing that comes to mind is his legs are gone and he’s done. But Pierce reached back Saturday and came through with a vintage Pierce performance. He scored 20 points in a 109-104 victory over the Jazz, shooting 6 of 11 overall – 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.
That his effort came with Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon) unable to play, made it that much more clutch.
Coach Doc Rivers certainly liked it.
“It was the first time he had a lot of minutes in a row, too,” Rivers said of Pierce, who played 27 minutes. “I think part of it is on me as it is him, and I have been saying that all year. But it has to help his confidence. It will help him get in better rhythm with our guys.”
PIerce was stoked, as well.
“I’m not the go-to scorer I was years back where you give it to me in isolation, but I do a good job playing off our stars,” Pierce said. “That is what I was able to do today. I was out there with J.J. (Redick), Chris (Paul) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan) and they take most of the attention. I was able to advantage of that.”
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.