April 6, 2018 / 3:46 AM / 5 months ago

Jazz hand Clippers damaging defeat

EditorsNote: Update 1: Updates standings

Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points while Rudy Gobert added 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to lead the Utah Jazz to a 117-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.

Derrick Favors added 16 points while Jonas Jerebko and Alec Burks chipped in 13 apiece. Utah, which won its fourth straight, shot 53 percent from the field.

Austin Rivers scored 19 points to lead the Clippers, whose longshot playoff hopes took a hit. Montrezl Harrell added 17 points and Lou Williams chipped in 12 for Los Angeles. It marked the second straight road loss for the Clippers and their third loss in four games.

With the defeat, the Clippers are two games out of the last Western Conference playoff position currently held by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but also two games behind the Denver Nuggets — who sit in ninth — after they beat Minnesota on Thursday night. The Nuggets and Timberwolves play again in their final games of the season.

Fourth-place Utah increased its lead to one game over the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Los Angeles totaled 16 turnovers that led to 20 points for the Jazz. The Clippers also struggled from the perimeter, making just 3 of 17 (17.6 percent) from outside as part of a 43.5 percent shooting night.

Mitchell enjoyed a dominant first quarter, scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 10 minutes. His final basket helped push the Jazz stake out a 25-16 lead. Dante Exum drove for back-to-back layups to give Utah its first double-digit cushion at 31-21.

The Jazz built up a 20-point lead midway through the second quarter. Jerebko made back-to-back baskets as part of a 13-2 run. Mitchell capped it off with a pair of free throws to put Utah ahead 54-34.

Things spun out of control for the Clippers in part because of their inability to hold onto the ball. Los Angeles coughed up 10 first-half turnovers.

Utah led by as many as 30 points in the second half, going up 97-67 on a 3-pointer from Burks early in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz played the final three quarters without starting point guard Ricky Rubio on the floor. Rubio left during the first quarter with left hamstring soreness and did not return. He finished with nine points, two rebounds and two assists in eight minutes.

Rubio averaged 16.5 points over his previous 10 games coming into Thursday. He posted a team-high 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting for Utah in the team’s 117-110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

Utah forward Jae Crowder also left the game for good after sustaining a corneal abrasion near the end of the first quarter.

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