The Clippers’ defense stepped up, holding the Jazz to 13 points in the second quarter and 40 points in the second half of an 88-75 win for the Clippers, who went to 2-0.It was the first of the NBA Sundays live games to be shown on Kwesé Free Sports. Here are five quick takeaways from the matchup.
Defense picks up, big run follows
The Clippers played from behind entering the second quarter, but their defense picked up and a big run followed. Trailing, 31-27, with five and a half minutes left in the second quarter, the Clippers held the Jazz to just four points for the next eight minutes. By the nine-minute mark in the third quarter, the Clippers were out in front with a 49-35 lead after a 22-4 run. They wouldn’t trail again the rest of the day, holding Utah to 40 second-half points.
It looked like disaster struck as DeAndre Jordan, who had already pulled down 15 rebounds at the time, grabbed at his right hand after going for a loose ball. The Clippers needed to take a 20-second timeout as he was keeled over in pain, but he didn’t need to go to the locker room. Jordan went to the bench with what was just a sprained right thumb, and he was able to return in the fourth quarter, as the Clippers avoided what could’ve been a major blow.
Help off the bench
Austin Rivers took advantage of time at small forward with the starters in the second quarter, at which point the Clippers started to make their run. Rivers finished with 19 points, going 8-for-11 from the floor and 2-for-4 from deep, while Jamal Crawford also provided a spark with 12 points.
The Clippers harped on about rebounding from the start of training camp, and it’s paid off early in the 2015/16 season. After equaling a great rebounding team in Portland in their opener, the Clippers followed up by out-rebounding the Jazz, 49-43. On one occasion at the end of the first half, the Clippers pulled down three offensive rebounds before finishing the possession with points, and the Clippers ended the day with nine more second-chance points than Utah.
Blake Griffin led the way for the starters, posting another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, passing Corey Maggette for No. 4 all-time in scoring in franchise history. The starters weren’t needed late, as the Clippers opened up a lead of more than 20 points early in the fourth quarter, but it was a solid showing for the starting five, with Jordan finishing with 16 rebounds and Chris Paul adding nine assists.
The Clippers’ win was the first of a back-to-back, as they host Phoenix on Halloween night.
By Joseph Ibarra
First appeared on NBA.com Global