The Utah Jazz will carry their eight-game winning streak into Los Angeles to face the Clippers in consecutive contests Wednesday and Friday in a matchup of two of the NBA’s best and hottest clubs.
The Jazz, who own the league’s best record at 23-5, have been on a roll, winning eight straight and 19 of 20 games. Their lone loss during the stretch occurred Jan. 31 to the Denver Nuggets.
On Monday, Utah posted a 134-123 win over the Philadelphia 76ers behind a season-high 40 points from reserve guard Jordan Clarkson.
Clarkson said the faith invested in him by teammates and Jazz coaches played a key role in his performance.
“Those guys always come over to the bench and tell me to keep shooting,” said Clarkson, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “Even when I’m having an off-night, even when I’m hot, they still tell me to shoot the ball no matter what, tell me to make the play. What gives me that confidence is just my teammates, coaching staff, just everybody continuously talking to me, continuously embracing who I am.”
Clarkson made a career-best eight 3-pointers, becoming the fifth Jazz player to accomplish the feat. Rodney Hood, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jeff Hornacek and Randy Foye are the others.
Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and Joe Ingles contributed 20 for the Jazz, who played without Mike Conley (hamstring) for the fifth consecutive game.
The Clippers won their fourth in a row Monday to improve to 21-8 in a surprising 125-118 victory over the Miami Heat. Despite being without four starters, including Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers had six players score in double figures. Marcus Morris Sr. led the way with 32 points on 11 of 15 shooting, including 6 of 8 3-pointers.
Ivica Zubac had 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting and eight rebounds, while Lou Williams finished with 18 points and 10 assists.
The Clippers also got a boost from reserve guards Terance Mann and Amir Coffey, who scored 15 points apiece. Coffey connected on career-high five 3-pointers in six attempts.
“We got to do it by committee, and all of our guys are ready to play, man,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Marcus in the first half with 26 (points). Lou just took control of the game. He had 10 assists again tonight. Amir Coffey was in the G League three days ago, and now he comes back and makes five threes. And Big Zu. I mean, Zu was phenomenal. His presence on the inside was big. Just a total team effort.”
Leonard sat for the second consecutive game with a leg contusion, while George missed his sixth straight with a toe injury. The Clippers rested Patrick Beverley, who recently returned from an eight-game absence with a knee injury, since the game against the Heat was the second of back-to-backs. Nicolas Batum (concussion) also didn’t play.
The Clippers recorded 31 assists for the second straight game. It’s the first time they have had at least 30 assists in consecutive games since December 2014.
–Field Level Media