PREGAME REPORT | FEBRUARY 23, 2013
Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. PST | STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA | Game Notes »
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LOS ANGELES – Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro used words like “disappointing” and “awful” to describe his team’s first game after the All-Star break. But two days removed from a season-worst 116-90 loss to San Antonio, the Clippers get a chance to restart their stretch run against the well-rested Utah Jazz.
“You’ve got to reset a little bit,” Del Negro said after Friday’s practice. “Some of the guys are still in Hawaii, Cabo and the All-Star break. So we’ve got to get out of the lethargic, slow, no intensity mentality. I am very disappointed in the effort last night, but it’s always a test. We’ve got to bounce back [Saturday] night and get back on track.”
The Clippers (39-18) remain in third place in the ever-crowded Western Conference, while Utah (31-24) is positioning themselves to make a move from seventh place after standing pat at Thursday’s trade deadline. Despite rumors abound about both the Clippers and Jazz, both teams’ rosters remained intact when the NBA’s final minutes to make a deal ticked away.
In many ways the lack of a deal was a sign of faith in a Clippers’ roster that is healthier than at any point in the season and is on the verge of winning its 40th game faster than any team in franchise history.
For Utah, the passing of Thursday’s deadline means coming to L.A. with their versatile frontcourt of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors still intact. They have not played since Tuesday, when swingman Gordon Hayward returned from strained shoulder that kept him out of the lineup for four weeks.
LAST TIME OUT
Spurs 116, Clippers 90: The All-Star break came and went, and so did the Clippers’ four-game winning streak. The Spurs dominated the game after the first six minutes, leading by as many as 34 points and shooting 58.9%, a season high for a Clippers’ opponent.
“We didn’t bring the effort, the intensity, the mindset tonight to compete at the level you need to against a team like that,” Del Negro said.
Blake Griffin had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers. But after falling behind 34-21 at the end of the first quarter, they were unable to make a game of it. Tony Parker scored a game-high 31 points on 12-of-16 shooting and all 13 players who appeared in the game for San Antonio made at least one field goal.
“It was just one game,” said Matt Barnes, who scored 18 points off the bench. “We beat them twice, they beat us once. They definitely got us out of vacation mode. They came in attack mode and beat us to the punch. We’ve got to learn from that and you know we’re going to see them again in the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.”
Jazz 115, Warriors 101: Utah scored no fewer than 26 points in any quarter and sent visiting Golden State to its then-sixth straight loss Tuesday. The Jazz shot 50.0% from the field, committed just 11 turnovers and went 10-for-21 from 3-point range. Hayward scored 17 points off the bench in his return to the lineup and was one of seven players in double figures. Utah was led by Jefferson’s 24 points and nine rebounds.
TWO THINGS TO WATCH
High scoring. The Jazz are 3-14 when they allow 100 or more points on the road. For the Clippers, Saturday night should be all about getting over the century mark. They are 3-0 against the Jazz this season with all three wins coming in games they reached the 100-point plateau.
All three wins in the series came in December, during their record 17-game winning streak. The Jazz accounted for wins No. 3, 16 and 17 in the streak and included a 19-point comeback win Salt Lake City.
Rebounds. DeAndre Jordan has played 30 minutes or more eight times this season, three of those have come against Utah’s big front line. He’s averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in those games, which is paramount considering the Jazz are tenth in the NBA in offensive boards per game (12.2). They have had 11 games this season where at least one player secured five or more offensive rebounds.
The Clippers have not swept a season series against the Jazz since 1978-79 when they were located in San Diego and the Jazz were still in New Orleans… They are also seeking their first six-game winning streak against Utah overall since a seven-game stretch between 1979 and 1980… The Jazz are 3-15 when trailing after three quarters on the road… The Clippers have sustained four losses this season by 20 points or more. They are 2-1 in the game immediately following that loss… A win for the Clippers will give them 40 victories faster than any other season in franchise history. The previous record is 63 games (1974-75)…
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