Utah Jazz vs. L.A. Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for L.A.

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 31, 2012

Utah Jazz vs. L.A. Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for L.A.

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    For the second time in three days, the Utah Jazz faced the Los Angeles Clippers. For the second time in three days, L.A. extended their franchise-record winning streak in competitive fashion.

    Behind 29 points from Caron Butler, the Clippers won by a score of 107-96 Sunday night at the Staples Center.

    It wasn't easy, as L.A. led by just three points entering the fourth quarter, but the Clippers have now won 17 consecutive games.

    So how did it all go down for the Clips?

Chris Paul, Point Guard

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    Overall Grade: A

    Minutes Played: 35

    Stat Line: 19 points, 9 assists, 1 rebound, 5 steals


    Matched up against a tough assignment in Jamaal Tinsley, Chris Paul carried on with business as usual.

    Paul finished with 19 points, nine assists, five steals and also posted a plus/minus of plus-eight.

    Paul started the game on a high note, dishing out six assists and two steals during the opening quarter, though he missed three of his first four field-goal attempts. From there on out, Paul was 6-of-10 and put the icing on the cake with the final basket of the game. He also scored six points during the final four minutes, thus placing this game out of reach.

    CP3 made up for his early shooting woes by facilitating. Then, he made up for his teammates' scoring deficiencies by taking on the burden late.

    In other words, he was just being CP3.

Willie Green, Shooting Guard

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    Overall Grade: C+

    Minutes Played: 16

    Stat Line: 5 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound


    Willie Green continues to provide quality play in limited minutes. For the evening, Green converted two of his four field-goal attempts for five points and three assists.

    That includes an and-one jump shot during the opening minutes of the third quarter. A shot which seemed to deflate the Utah perimeter.

    Although there wasn't much else to write about, there was nothing to complain about from the veteran Green either. Quality play is almost always a certainty from Green; his energy is infectious and effort unquestioned.

Caron Butler, Small Forward

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    Overall Grade: A+

    Minutes Played: 25

    Stat Line: 29 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 6-of-6 3PT


    Normally, an A+ wouldn't go to a player that was limited to the points column and virtually nothing else.

    The fact of the matter is, L.A. would not have won this game without Caron Butler. His team-high 29 points were virtually the only form of offense the Clippers had through three quarters.

    It started early for Butler, as he connected on five three-pointers and 17 points in the first quarter alone. He'd finish with six triples for the game, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc.

    He put up 12 points during the third quarter, thus keeping L.A. ahead by three points. Fortunately, his teammates picked up the slack in the final frame.

    Even as he disappeared offensively in the fourth, Butler played quality defense and provided valuable floor spacing. Twenty-nine points in 25 minutes? What more can you say but bravo?

Blake Griffin, Power Forward

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    Overall Grade: C-

    Minutes Played: 26

    Stat Line: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3-of-5 FG


    Matched up against Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, Blake Griffin was nowhere to be found.

    The 2009 first overall draft choice attempted just five field goals, which happened to match his total of personal fouls committed.

    It also mirrors his amount of free-throw attempts. Unfortunately, Griffin converted just one of those five attempts from the charity stripe.

    Griffin managed to grab seven rebounds and dish out three assists in 26 minutes, but his disappearing act from a scoring perspective certainly hurts. As does his inability to chase down two long passes in transition.

    An average evening turned sour with his foul trouble and poor free-throw shooting.

DeAndre Jordan, Center

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    Overall Grade: B

    Minutes Played: 29

    Stat Line: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 6-of-8 FT


    In response to the strategy widely known as "hack-a-Jordan," DeAndre Jordan took a new approach to his free throws: attempting to bank each and every one of them.

    This approach led to a 6-of-8 night from the charity stripe—quite successful for a 41.7 percent free-throw shooter.

    As for the entirety of his game, Jordan finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Although it was not a groundbreaking performance, Jordan displayed an encouraging level of consistency.

    Should he continue at this pace, the Clippers will continue to be tough to beat.

Jamal Crawford, Sixth Man

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    Overall Grade: A-

    Minutes Played: 30

    Stat Line: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals


    Entering the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers led 79-76. With L.A. struggling to score the rock and Utah hot on their tails, the team needed someone to step up.

    That's where Jamal Crawford came in.

    Crawford scored 11 points during the fourth quarter, including an obscene 27-foot three-pointer. A shot which proved to be a momentum shifter. From that shot onward, the Jazz never came closer than five points.

    For the game, Crawford finished with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. As the team's sixth man, that's about as good as you can ask for.

    Stepping up in the clutch is always a grade-booster, and Crawford did just that.

A Tribe Called Bench

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    Overall Grade: B

    Average plus/minus: +3

    Combined Stat Line: 33 points, 23 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 blocks, 3 steals


    Led by Lamar Odom, the Los Angeles Clippers had a bounce-back performance after posting a dud in the previous meeting Friday night.

    Odom finished the game with eight rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes. Although he struggled to score, that was a common theme with the Clippers as a whole. Not a fault of the second unit. Not when they played such tough defense.

    Matt Barnes complemented Odom by posting seven points, four rebounds, a steal and one block. He also got under the skin of multiple opponents, including Enes Kanter. A player that Barnes nearly came to blows with.

    Eric Bledsoe and Ronny Turiaf each contributed well, providing quality defensive energy. The too failed to contribute much in the scoring department, but their efforts were well-received.

    A solid evening from A Tribe Called Bench.