SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – When Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder went down the injuries, one would think the Utah Jazz would struggle against a desperate Los Angeles Clippers team.
But that only made team stronger.
Getting key contributions off the bench from Dante Exum, Jonas Jerebko and Alec Burks, the Jazz blew the Clippers out, leading by as many as 30 points, in a 117-95 blowout victory.
Donovan Mitchell scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, while Derrick Favors added 16 points as the Jazz cruised to their fourth straight win and stay in the 4th spot in the Western Conference.
“Those guys came out ready,” Favors said about the Jazz bench players. “Dante came in, Jonas came in, and did wonderful for us tonight. Everybody who came off the bench came in and played a big part.
“It’s really good for my confidence,” said Exum, who added five assists and two blocked shots. “Where I’ve been the last couple years then to come back from the injury and be able to play and get into the rotation, it’s good. Hopefully I can just continue to grow and have an impact come playoff time.”
Coming off a lackluster defensive effort against the Lakers on Tuesday, head coach Quin Snyder was pleased with how his team responded. The Jazz held the Clippers to just 44 percent shooting. L.A. was just 3 of 17 from 3-point range.
“We were just tighter.,” Snyder said. “I thought we had more connectivity as a group. I think our guys understood what an important game this was. As you move forward, every game matters right now in a very significant way.”
The Jazz made 53 percent of their shots from the field. Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Jonas Jerebko scored 13 points off the bench.
“We’re a deep team,” Jerebko said. “We practice hard every day, and we’re ready when they need us.”
Seven Jazz players scored in double figures. Joe Ingles had 11 points and 9 assists, while Alec Burks added 13 points.
Rubio left in the game in the first quarter with hamstring soreness after scoring nine points. His status for the next game is up in the air. Crowder got poked in the eye accidentally by Favors, and also left in the opening quarter. Crowder was diagnosed with a corneal abrasion.
The Jazz are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, and are within two games of the 3-seed in the West.
Utah next plays at the Lakers on Sunday.