The Los Angeles Clippers call their high-flying style Lob City.
The Utah Jazz did a pretty good impersonation in Tuesday night’s 108-79 blowout win.
”Not to toot our own horn, but I think we took that title,” said Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who scored a team-high 20 points.
The Jazz held a 56-36 advantage on points in the paint, 16 off dunks – five of which were alley-oops.
Millsap picked up where he left off Sunday when he scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter in a win over Denver. He started 4 of 4 against the Clippers as the Jazz jumped out to a 13-2 lead.
”Offensively, everything was clicking and the ball was moving,” said Jazz point guard Devin Harris, who had 13 points. ”Defensively, we picked it up and built on leads when we had the chance.
”We are tougher to guard when you have four of five guys out there who can score and do different things. We don’t just have one or two guys that others can focus on.”
Millsap had primary duties defending Blake Griffin, and held him to 10 points, including eight in the first half.
”He usually has slower guys on him, but Paul is more mobile and I think he kind of took some of the advantages he has away,” Jazz swingman C.J. Miles said of Millsap. ”(Griffin) is a great player and makes some tough shots but having to guard Paul made a big difference, too.”
Griffin said the Clippers, who were without star guard Chris Paul for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury, never found their rhythm.
”From beginning to end, we just didn’t have the energy,” Griffin said. ”It was ugly. At the same time, they did the things they wanted to do.”
Miles provided a big spark.
After being far down the Jazz bench early in the season, the sixth-year pro has found a niche with Utah’s uptempo second unit.
He scored a season-high 19 points Tuesday, including a key 3-pointer, with four steals and five rebounds.
”I had to keep being aggressive,” Miles said of developing his role. ”Staying in the gym, I knew the funk was going to eventually come out.”
He said the way the second unit is built, with speedy Earl Watson coming off the bench, helps.
”It helps me a lot … being able to run, get up and down the floor,” Miles said. ”The first group is more post-oriented and sometimes you just fall into that trap of just watching those guys because they’re so good down there.”
Caron Butler led the Clippers with 14 points, while Chauncey Billups had 10 on 3-of-12 shooting.
The biggest number may be 16 – as in 16 straight wins at home against the Clippers.
Los Angeles hasn’t won in Salt Lake City since 2003 and has now lost 43 of their last 45 in Utah
”That’s amazing,” Millsap said of Utah’s home-court edge against the Clippers.
He was more concerned about keeping the momentum in general going.
The Jazz have won eight of their last nine to give them the second-best record in the Western Conference at 9-4. Their only loss in that span has been in overtime at home against the Lakers.
”It was fun, which is the way it should be, when we execute our defense,” Miles said. ”Offense is going to come. Defensively we got to do that every night.”
Utah led 52-41 at halftime.
In the third, the Clippers cut the gap to 57-49 on Griffin’s putback slam, but Millsap and Al Jefferson bumped it back to 12 on back-to-back buckets.
Three-pointers by Harris and Miles bumped Utah’s lead to 71-55 with 2:48 left in the third.
Utah led by as many as 34 points, which allowed Jazz starters to get some rest, with defending NBA champion Dallas up next Thursday.
Rookies Alec Burks added 11 points and six rebounds, and Enes Kanter had 10 points and five rebounds for Utah. However, it was second-year pro Jeremy Evans who brought the crowd to its feet, with four dunks – three on alley-oops.
This is a guy who, curious to see if he could duplicate Griffin’s All-Star feat of jumping over a Kia, tried jumping over his 2011 Camaro this summer.
”My goal was to land on the other side instead of on the hood. I didn’t touch it,” Evans said before the game.
Afterwards, he was all smiles.
”It’s real fun when you’re getting alley-oops and dunks and the crowd is into it. That’s all you can ask for,” said Evans, who finished with nine points.
Notes: Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Paul is feeling better but he wanted to be smart about the injury and wouldn’t rush his superstar point guard back. … Jazz F Derrick Favors and swingman Josh Howard were held out because of injury. … Griffin had two dunks, which gives him 30 on the year and ties him with Washington’s JaVale McGee for the NBA lead. … Butler appeared in his 600th career game Tuesday.