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Utah Jazz 96 Los Angeles Clippers 94 Game Recap: Dante Exum steals game from Flopcity

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No Hayward, Favors, or Burks. No problem.

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 96-94 in a game that changed narratives early and often. In the first quarter Utah ran up to leads of 4-1, 16 to something pathetic, and 24 to laughable, only to let the veteran Los Angeles club chip away. For much of the first half, even, Utah stayed ahead, but LA’s second team did what they had to do to keep within striking distance. In the third they went on a 10-0 run and changed how everyone watching the game felt. The plucky Jazz, without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks, were finally letting the talent disparity determine the outcome. Or the playoff hardened Clippers asserted their will when it mattered.

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

From “LOL Clippers” to “Woe is us” in 12 minutes is a roller-coaster ride to be sure. Utah was up 46-39 at half, but it should have been a larger margin. LA, especially with Chris Paul at the helm and Doc Rivers on the sideline, knows how to close out quarters. And they did that consistently in this game. They polished off a 30-20 third quarter and took control of both the lead and the momentum in this game.

NBA: Preseason-Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Clippers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul was drawing fouls. Blake Griffin was having his way against Boris Diaw. There were bright spots from Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Rudy Gobert — but with Utah down going into the fourth quarter on the road, things looked grim. At this point both teams should have been going deep into their role players, but Chris Paul was in there in the fourth. The Clippers were going to try to put the Jazz to bed early.

With how Shelvin Mack was playing, it was likely to happen. He was having a rough night (-7 in +/-, much worse during parts of the game, four turn overs, zero assists). But he was not the only one (Trey Lyles fouled out in just 18 minutes, though he did post 8 and 8 with a +13 in +/-).

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Trey!

Mercifully, Quin Snyder did go to his bench, and Raul Neto, Chris Johnson, and Joel Bolomboy provided not just a spark to these lethargic line-ups, but also a will to win.

Neto’s drives were effective, eliciting the defense to move as a reaction to him and getting good angles for passes. Johnson was huge on the glass, finishing with 7 rebounds in 12 minutes — and scored on putbacks at critical junctures. Bolomboy was a force of nature out there in the paint. He did get called for a potentially deadly foul at the end of the game (Jamal Crawford had a chance to tie the game, but missed one of his three free throws with 30 seconds of game left). But did enough to stay on the court and be useful when he was there.

Finishing the game with Dante Exum and Joe Ingles was the difference here, as they righted this ship that would sink the Clippers. Dante and Joe were great on defense, but this play won the game.

Once again, yes, this is what a Top 5 Draft Pick can do for your team.

Utah steals this one, after giving it away. But kudos to the team’s end of rotation guys for fighting hard and showing what they could do. This was the Jazz pulling off a win against some good players, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Bass, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, even Austin Rivers — not exactly chopped liver.

Yes, LA didn’t FINISH with CP3, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and so forth. But it’s not like Utah finished with their best guy — or even HAD their best guys available. Bravo. This is a solid win, as far as those go in the NBA Preseason.

Stat Shorts:

  • Rodney Hood had 17 on 7-9 shooting, along with 3 rebounds and 1 assist
  • Joe Johnson in his first start finished with 9 points off of 8 shots, not great
  • George Hill had 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block in 24 minutes of action
  • Boris Diaw had some moments early, but finished with just 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists after racking up 5 fouls in 13 minutes
  • Rudy Gobert was also in foul trouble, played half the game, and finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, but only went 12 from the line
  • Joe Ingles finished with a nice 5 and 5 with 1 assist, and 2 steals. His defense, and key offensive rebound, made this win possible
  • Chris Johnson got to the line and glass, had 8 points and 7 rebounds as previously mentioned. He’s on the bubble for making this team. Games like this will keep him on it.
  • Jeff Withey had some struggles finishing around the basket. Some of these should result in free throws. Tonight he went to the line six times. Honestly? It probably should have been more than that. He did have a nice block though.
  • Shelvin Mack, despite his troubles, had 12 points and 4 rebounds. His stats looked better than his game.
  • Utah went 2/14 from deep in this game. And won. The Clippers went 10/27.
  • The Clippers went to the line 33 times, drawing 33 fouls on the Jazz. LA committed a bunch of them too, but were called for only 28. Still, 60 fouls in a preseason game is insane.
  • Utah dominated the glass, with 51 boards, 13 were offensive, 7 of them came from bench guys Lyles, Bolomboy, Withey, Ingles, and C.Johnson. Los Angeles only had 7 in total, despite shooting 30/75.
  • The turn overs have been awful for the Jazz this preseason, tonight racking up another 21. Assists? Only 12. Yeesh.

Enjoy the Jazz highlights here:

The Utah Jazz finish up the preseason facing the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, the Clippers again on Monday, and the Trail Blazers on the following Wednesday. And then that’s it! The games that count begin!

GO JAZZ GO!