Jazz 9-game winning streak comes to an end against Clippers, 116-112

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Donovan Mitchell scores 35, while Mike Conley adds 16 in return to action

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, right, and Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac reach for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – Despite an incredible second half from Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz nine-game winning streak came to an end Friday night with a 116-112 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mitchell scored 29 of his 35 points in the second half as the Jazz erased a 15-point deficit.

But Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, while Lou Williams had 19 off the bench, as the Clippers handed the Jazz just its second loss in the last 22 games.

“This is a bump in the road and a good one,” Mitchell said. “We lost the game on the boards, that was second-chance points, which is what really hurt us.”

Mike Conley finished with 16 points in 25 minutes in his return after missing the last six games with a hamstring injury.

The Clippers avenged an 18-point loss to Utah two nights earlier, when starters Leonard, Paul George and Nicolas Batum were sidelined. George had 15 points in his return from a seven-game absence with an injured toe.

“I wasn’t ready to play 30-plus today,” said George, who was held to 26 minutes. “Got to get back to that basketball conditioning. I probably would have hurt the team if I’d been on the floor past the minutes I was.”

Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points, Jordan Clarkson had 19 points and Rudy Gobert had 15 rebounds as Utah fell to 24-6, still the best record in the NBA.

“It felt like a playoff game, the intensity, the tough shots they were making all night,” Gobert said.

The Jazz got outrebounded 45-38, including 11 offensive boards by the Clippers.

“If we get those rebounds we win this game,” Gobert said.

The Jazz also struggled a bit from the three-point line, making 12 of 35 from behind the arc.

After not making any 3’s in the third, the Clippers got timely 3-pointers from Marcus Morris and Patrick Beverley, who had two apiece in the fourth. Beverley’s consecutive long-range baskets pushed their lead to 107-94 and finished off a 20-10 run. Los Angeles played without a center in the fourth, when Morris was added to the rotation and scored 10 points.

“We might be small in size but we’re not small in heart, for sure,” Beverley said. “Playing the No. 1 team, we got to go out and beat them. They’re not going to give it to you and that’s the mindset we came out with.”

Trailing by 10, the Jazz weren’t done yet. They closed to 112-110 on consecutive 3-pointers by Mitchell. Beverley and Leonard combined to make four straight free throws that kept the Clippers ahead 116-110.

George fouled Mitchell on a 3-point attempt, and Mitchell made the first two with 2 seconds to go. He deliberately missed the third and Royce O’Neale grabbed the offensive rebound but missed at the buzzer.

The Clippers led by 15 points in the second quarter and were up by 10 early in the third only to see the Jazz tie it up. Mitchell scored 12 of Utah’s first 15 points, including seven in a row.

Neither team led by more than five points the rest of the third. Leonard, who returned after missing three games with a bruised leg, carried the Clippers with 14 points in the quarter after having just 12 in the first half. His pair of free throws sent Los Angeles into the fourth leading 79-75.

The Jazz next host Charlotte Monday night at 7:00 p.m.

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