Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert Power Jazz to Big Win vs. ClippersDecember 16, 2021
The Utah Jazz kept their win streak alive Wednesday, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 124-103 at home for their eighth consecutive victory. Donovan Mitchell was one of four 20-point scorers, finishing with a team-high 27 points as Utah improved to 20-7.
Jordan Clarkson had 21 points off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic added 20, and Rudy Gobert notched a double-double with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, the Jazz were able to get some revenge after the Clippers eliminated them from the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals last season. It was also the beginning of a six-game homestand for Utah.
Los Angeles fell to 16-13 and had its four-game win streak snapped. Marcus Morris Sr. had 24 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Eric Bledsoe had 21 points and eight assists off the bench.
Clippers star forward Paul George, who missed the previous three games with an elbow injury, sat out again Wednesday.
Notable Player Stats
G Donovan Mitchell, UTAH: 27 points
G Jordan Clarkson, UTAH: 21 points (off bench)
C Rudy Gobert, UTAH: 20 points, 17 rebounds
F Bojan Bogdanovic, UTAH: 20 points (6-of-7 3-pt FG)
F Marcus Morris Sr., LAC: 24 points, 8 rebounds
G Eric Bledsoe, LAC: 21 points, 8 assists (off bench)
Jazz's Balanced Attack Keys Victory
Utah is one of the deepest teams in the NBA, and Wednesday's game was indicative of just that. Multiple players were key contributors to the team's win.
Clarkson, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, sparked the team off the bench, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the first half to help erase an early seven-point deficit.
Bogdanovic hit his first four three-pointers for 12 first-half points. Gobert matched his first-half total and also did a great job protecting the rim, as usual.
With the supporting cast playing strong early on, Mitchell was able to take over down the stretch. He scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half with 13 coming in the third quarter alone.
When the Clippers got within single digits of the lead in the fourth quarter, the Jazz didn't flinch and used an 18-6 run to put the game away.
After a 6-5 start to the season, Utah has looked like the team that finished with the best record in the Western Conference last year during this win streak. The Jazz are the hottest team in the league, and it's going to take a strong effort on both ends to cool them off.
Short-Handed Clippers Can't Keep Up with Jazz
Los Angeles should be credited for showing some fight early in Wednesday's game. But without George, there just wasn't a player on the floor capable of carrying the team.
Along with Bledsoe and Morris, Luke Kennard helped keep the Clippers afloat in the early going.
LA Clippers @LAClippers
.<a href="https://twitter.com/LukeKennard5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LukeKennard5</a> gettin' us goin'. <br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/BallySportWest?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BallySportWest</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClipperNation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ClipperNation</a> <a href="https://t.co/cajhzmbtnD">pic.twitter.com/cajhzmbtnD</a>
Bledsoe had 15 of his 21 points in the first half on 6-of-6 shooting with a couple of three-pointers.
The Clippers had jumped out to a seven-point lead nearly midway through the second quarter, but Utah eventually woke up. The Jazz ended on a 25-12 run to take a 65-59 lead going into halftime.
Los Angeles played hard and did its best to keep the game competitive, but Utah pulled away in the second half and never looked back. The Clippers, to their credit, continued to try to claw their way into the game and cut the lead to single digits, but it just wasn't enough.
LA Clippers @LAClippers
.<a href="https://twitter.com/MookMorris2?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MookMorris2</a> bringin' the energy. <br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/BallySportWest?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BallySportWest</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ClipperNation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ClipperNation</a> <a href="https://t.co/1B5nVnOZ6B">pic.twitter.com/1B5nVnOZ6B</a>
The Clippers were facing one of the most complete teams in the NBA as the Jazz are one of two teams in the league to rank in the top five in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Wednesday's game would've been tough for Los Angeles even if George was in the lineup, but without him the team was facing a daunting challenge.
Once Los Angeles is back at full strength, the team will have better luck competing with the top teams in the Western Conference.
The Jazz will go for their ninth straight win on Friday when the San Antonio Spurs come to town. The Clippers will look to bounce back on Saturday in a road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.