SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The losing streak is finally over.
Jordan Clarkson had a season-high 33 points and five assists, and the Utah Jazz snapped a five-game losing streak with a 125-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Collin Sexton added 21 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Jazz. Lauri Markkanen chipped in 23 points and nine rebounds. Jarred Vanderbilt added 14 points and 12 boards.
Utah’s efficiency on offense helped the Jazz pull away in the fourth quarter. The Jazz shot 55% from the field while making 14 3-pointers and scoring 52 points in the paint.
“We were playing to our style of basketball,” Markkanen said. “We were getting good looks. It didn’t really matter who’s shooting as long as it goes in and we’re getting good looks.”
John Wall finished with a season-high 26 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles. Reggie Jackson added 15 points for the Clippers, who lost despite outscoring Utah 65-22 in bench points.
The short-handed Clippers lost for the third time in five games.
“We’re a good team that can fight,” Wall said. “We’re never going to give up. We’ve got enough in this room when guys are down that we can compete at a high level.”
The Clippers erased a double-digit deficit with a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter and took a 45-43 lead on a tip-in basket from Ivica Zubac that punctuated the run.
Clarkson made baskets on three straight possessions to energize the Jazz and put Utah back in front. Los Angeles countered with a 9-0 run, capped by back-to-back baskets by Wall and raced to a 60-56 lead in the final minute before halftime.
Utah reclaimed the lead for good behind an 22-6 run in the third quarter. Sexton scored back-to-back baskets to start a string of 11 consecutive possessions in which the Jazz scored and capped the run with a free throw – giving Utah a 90-76 lead.
“They threw a big punch in the second quarter and our guys came out of halftime with the appropriate energy and focus,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said.
The Clippers closed within 98-95 early in the fourth quarter on Moussa Diabate’s three-point play. Then, the Jazz closed the door on a comeback. Vanderbilt, Clarkson, and Sexton combined to score baskets over seven straight possessions, pushing Utah’s lead to 113-99 midway through the quarter. Five of those seven decisive baskets were in the paint.
“(It was) just one of those games we could’ve played a little better, could’ve stole, but (Utah) played well,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said.
Hardy deviated from his normal substitution patterns in the second half in favor of a seven-man rotation until the final two minutes. It meant heavier than usual minutes for several Jazz starters. Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk each played 36 minutes. Clarkson logged 40 minutes on the court.
“We were trying to win, and I thought those guys had good mojo tonight,” Hardy said.
The Jazz (13-11) next host Indiana Friday night at 7:00 p.m.