Extra observations from, yes, a Los Angeles Clippers’ victory in Utah:
POINT 1: Mo Williams wasn’t budging on a Jazz inbounds pass, but neither was Gordon Hayward. After they grappled for position for a moment, a referee had seen enough. Whistle. Double foul called.
“I was just trying to get to my spot and (Williams) wouldn’t let me,” Hayward explained. “It was a physical game that we both wanted to win.”
(Here’s a video that shows the tail end of their tussle, and then Williams being called for an additional foul.)
What the 21-year-old didn’t know until after the matter was that he’d been slapped with a technical foul along with the ex-Jazzman.
“I didn’t even know I got one,” Hayward said. “It’s my first technical, but I’m not going to back down.”
That’s good news for the Jazz.
POINT 2: On Twitter, a Jazz fan (@JTolboe) sarcastically wrote: :so that’s what its like being on the other side of a great pick and roll.”
Chris Paul (34 points, 11 assists) picked the Jazz apart, and the Clippers rolled on the screen scene.
“Chris Paul runs their offense. He makes it tough on screens,” Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. “We’ve just got to figure out a way to stop him.”
A way that doesn’t include Deron Williams.
POINT 3: What a wild last minute and a half. Let’s go through some key plays.
1:28—Paul Millsap gets an offensive foul with Utah trailing 94-92. He was backing up Blake Griffin, but the Clipper power forward acted like he’d been hit by a semi-truck the way he fell to the court, which is why I tweeted that Millsap was called for a charge against Vlade Griffin. (If that doesn’t make sense, do a Google search for “Vlade Divac” and “flopping.”)
1:06—CP3 strikes again with a jumper, 96-92.
53.0—Al Jefferson gets two free throws, 96-94.
30.7—Key play: Good defense by Jazz, but a Paul miss ends up in Mo Williams’ hands 20-odd feet from the basket. C.J. Miles crashes into the Clipper, resulting in two FTs. 98-94.
25.0—Clutch shot by Big Al, 98-96.
21.9—Clippers alertly indbound ball quickly, leaving Jefferson back on defense on a 2-on-1 break. Big Al can either go after Griffin on the right or stay between the Rim Punisher and DeAndre Jordan to prevent a pass. Jefferson ends up fouling Griffin, but not hard enough to keep L.A.’s star from making the bucket in the process. The and-one situation puts Clippers up 101-96. Tough situation for Jefferson, who was the only Jazz player to get back on defense quickly enough to even be in the picture.
16.5—Paul Millsap shows off his range, hitting a 3-point to keep Jazz hopes alive, 101-99.
13.0—Chauncey Billups hits two clutch freebies, 103-99.
8.0—Miles drains a long ball, bringing the Jazz within 103-102.
7.0—More clutch foul-shooting by Billups, 105-102.
3.8—Clippers wisely foul Devin Harris, whose FTs make it 105-104.
3.1—Mo Williams continues Clippers’ clutch play, draining two FTs for a 107-104 lead. Jazz have no timeouts left, so this was huge.
1.2—Billups fouls Miles — didn’t look on purpose, either — before he could get up a 3. Miles makes first, misses second on purpose, but Reggie Evans rebounds and Clippers escape with a rare win in Utah — their first in 16 tries and nine years.
Morals of the story:
- Hit your free throws (Jazz missed 10, Clippers missed 5);
- Rebound (Clippers won that battle 50-35, including Williams’ hustling to get ball before Miles could);
- Save timeouts (Jazz had none left, changing strategy late in the game)
- Get back on defense (Big Al was put in a bad spot).