Monday started with the announcement that Clippers PF Blake Griffin was named the Western Conference Player of the Week, after Griffin nearly messed around and averaged a triple-double in three games:
— Law Murray 🙌🏿 (@LawMurrayTheNU) February 13, 2017
But let’s focus on the task at hand. The Utah Jazz had a half-game lead in the Western Conference standings entering Monday, and we’re at the point of the season where these types of matchups are potential postseason previews. And this matchup had a little 🔥 to it after Jazz play-by-play radio broadcaster David Locke implied that Utah C Rudy Gobert should have made the Western Conference All-Star team over Clippers C DeAndre Jordan:
Jazz play the Clippers on Feb 13. I'm taking Rudy Gobert that night
— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) January 27, 2017
Snubs are always popular in the NBA – Jordan’s been snubbed before, and now that he’s getting accolades like First Team All-Defense, First Team All-NBA, Olympic Gold Medalist, and now NBA All-Star, the snubbing has turned to shade. We asked the people about Monday night’s matchup, and the lightly received poll was in favor of DJ:
Clippers will play in 11th different arena in as many games tonight at Utah. Who do you have between the All-Star and the snub?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) February 13, 2017
Anyway you want to put it, we hope you didn’t take the Jazz Monday night. The Clippers did what they had to do in Utah, holding them to a season-low 72 points. It’s the 2nd time this season that the Clippers allowed fewer than 80 points against Utah, and now the Clippers have beaten the Jazz 17 of the last 18 times, including a franchise-record 9 straight in Utah.
Top Performer: Jordan did his thing tonight as the Clippers allowed their fewest points on the road in nearly five years. In 31:09, Jordan had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, 13 rebounds, and a game-high 3 blocked shots. One of those blocks was a startling rejection of Gobert:
Overall, Utah made only 5-of-12 field goals attempted at the rim against Jordan (41.7 percent). That also mirrored Gobert’s shooting from the field on the night, while the Clippers made 4-of-7 field goals attempted at the rim against Gobert (57.1 percent).
X-Factor: The Clippers held the Jazz to 32.2 percent from the field – the lowest figure in Utah head coach Quin Snyder’s three seasons with the team. Utah’s All-Star, SF Gordon Hayward, had a remarkably poor night. Hayward was held to 7 points on a season-worst 2-of-12 from the field (16.7 percent), and he didn’t make up for it elsewhere offensively as he was held without an assist for only the 5th time this season. Hayward was injured when these teams met in October, but he was a non-factor in this one, as he missed 7-of-8 attempts from the field when defended by Clippers SF Luc Mbah a Moute.
Major Moment: The Jazz had a 21-18 lead 12 seconds into the 2nd quarter. But over the next 23 minutes, the Clippers outscored Utah 58-26. Mbah a Moute locked Hayward down on one end while Griffin dominated Utah on the other end, scoring 16 of his game-high 26 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field during this stretch. The Clippers made 60.0 percent of their 40 field goal attempts in the middle of the game, while Utah was held to 26.3 percent of their 38 field goal attempts during the run that led to a 29-point Clippers lead with under a minute left in the 3rd quarter.
Key Lineups: The starting lineup for the Clippers was on the floor together for 24 minutes, and that unit outscored the Jazz by 24 points (54-30). The other 3 lineups that the Clippers used for at least 3 minutes all had negative ratings, but the starters had a net rating of 55.0 while holding the Jazz to 26.1 percent shooting.
Utah’s worst lineup that played at least 3 minutes together involved Gobert, starting PG George Hill, and reserves Alec Burks, Joe Johnson, and Boris Diaw. That unit compiled a net rating of -104.8 in 3 minutes while getting outscored 12-4.
The Definition: The Clippers played 10 of their last 11 games on the road, and wound up splitting those road games. They’re on a 3-game winning streak overall while Utah is now on a 3-game losing streak, so now the Clippers are half a game up on the Jazz in the Western Conference standings. And it was shocking to see the Clippers allow a season-low points after they allowed at least 100 points in a season-worst 11 consecutive games.
“When you play 10-of-11 on the road, you are going to struggle a little bit, but if I had to say before the road [trip], of all the starts, the last three I wouldn’t have predicted winning,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said after the game. “I mean, those are the ones you were worried about and we ended up winning them and we played just terrific. I think it helped having days off on this road trip down the stretch. That was a big bonus for us as well.”