Final Score: LA Clippers 98, Utah 90
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Griffin scored 38 of his season- high 40 points after the opening 12 minutes to help the Los Angeles Clippers stave off the Utah Jazz with a 98-90 win from Staples Center.
Griffin also finished with 10 rebounds as the Clippers fed him in the second half to the tune of 26 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Chris Paul nearly registered a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists for the Clippers, who have now defeated the Jazz seven straight times.
"I think Blake's confidence is high right now," said Paul. "He's fun to watch. Blake works hard day in and day out."
Enes Kanter paced Utah with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams contributed 15 points apiece.
Trey Burke scored 12 points to go along with six assists in the loss, Utah's second in its last three games.
Griffin scored eight of the Clippers' first 10 points in the final frame to push LA's margin to 78-71 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
The margin remained seven when Burke nailed a 3 and Kanter hit a deep corner jumper from just inside the arch to pull Utah within two, 87-85.
Burke hit two at the line to tie the game at 90, but the Clippers ran off eight straight for the final margin.
Griffin made a driving dunk and Jamal Crawford drilled a 3-pointer over the final 2 1/2 minutes to help Los Angeles to the victory. Paul lost the ball, stole it from Kanter, and tossed it over to Crawford, who hit the 3 to give the Clippers a five-point cushion with 2:00 minutes remaining.
Utah went 0-for-4 from the field with three turnovers in the final 2:33 of the contest.
"I thought our guys played hard, they tried, we were just flat," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. "It was just one of those nights. we just made enough plays to win the game."
Utah led 43-42 at the half, but the Clippers quickly gained the lead, 45-43, after a Crawford 3 just 15 seconds into the third quarter.
The triple started a 9-3 run to open the frame and help LA to a 51-46 advantage.
Williams tied the game at 56 when Los Angeles ran off an 11-2 run, highlighted by a no-look dunk by Griffin from Crawford. Griffin received the pass at the rim with his body moving towards the Clippers' bench and slammed it down with a reverse dunk.
The Jazz trimmed the deficit to 68-65 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We had turnovers and errant passes down the stretch and they went on an 8-0 run to finish the game," said Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin. "Give Blake credit, we made him work. I can't say enough about this team, our guys are getting better."
Entering the game, Paul averaged 22.2 points per game against Utah during the win streak ... There were 13 lead changes in the contest ... LA outscored the Jazz in the paint by a 48-28 margin and 25-8 on the fastbreak ... DeAndre Jordan finished with 12 rebounds for the Clippers ... Crawford had 13 points ... Utah shot a frigid 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
12/29 01:50:39 ET
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