SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It wasn’t easy, ,but the Jazz finally put away the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night.
Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points, Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz overcame the loss of starting point guard Ricky Rubio, who left in the third quarter with hamstring tightness, to beat the Clippers, 111-105.
“That’s a big win for us,” Favors said. “Everybody is so close in the standings. We need every win we can get and hopefully it pays off for us in the end, but that was a good win for us.”
Rubio and Derrick Favors each added 13 points as Utah won its fourth straight home game by overcoming early shooting struggles.
Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari scored 18 points each to lead the Clippers, and Montrezl Harrell added 16. Utah clinched the season series and earned a playoff tiebreaker over the Clippers.
The Clippers stormed out the gates to a 29-12 lead in the first quarter before the Jazz rallied to cut the deficit to seven at the half.
After trading the lead for much of the second half, Utah pulled ahead for good with a 10-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Joe Ingles bookended the roll with two baskets to give the Jazz a 103-96 lead with 2:53 remaining.
Los Angeles cut it to 109-105 on two free throws from Gallinari with 39.4 seconds left. Williams missed a 3-pointer that would have cut it to one, and Mitchell hit two free throws to secure the win.
Head coach Quin Snyder credited the play of his bench for the victory.
“Raul in particular came in and was terrific,”Snyder said. “He did a lot of little things and made a couple big plays. Royce had a huge rebound late and a lot of guys contributed.”
“Just stay ready,” said Royce O’Neale, who had five rebounds and three steals. “We come in and bring a lot of energy, whether it’s myself, Raul or Jay or Kyle or whoever comes in the game that’s just being ready to play.
The Clippers used an 18-4 run to charge out to a 29-12 lead late in the first quarter. Gallinari sparked the burst with back-to-back baskets and capped it with a three-point play. He totaled 11 points in the quarter.
Utah rallied with a 12-0 run. Jae Crowder hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit to single digits. Favors punctuated the run with an uncontested dunk that cut the Clippers’ lead to 29-24.
Los Angeles regained a double-digit lead in the second quarter, going up 43-32 on a jumper from JaMychal Green, before the Jazz made another charge to erase the deficit. Utah made it 48-45 on back-to-back baskets from Mitchell and Gobert, but the Jazz couldn’t draw any closer before halftime.
The Jazz blocked a season-high 12 shots, and held the Clippers to just 39 percent shooting.
Utah holds on to the 6th seed in the Western Conference playoff race, and next heads to Denver to battle the second-seeded Nuggets Thursday night at 8:30 p.m.