Clippers beat Jazz 88-75 to improve to 2-0 on young season
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Austin Rivers played as many minutes as the starters after coach Doc Rivers saw what his son was doing to disrupt Utah’s Joe Johnson.
The younger Rivers scored 19 points in 28 minutes, Blake Griffin added 18 and the Los Angeles Clippers routed the Utah Jazz 88-75 in their home opener Sunday.
Jamal Crawford had 12 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 16 rebounds despite spraining his right thumb .
George Hill led the Jazz with 18 points and reserve Dante Exum added 10. Johnson, who had 29 points in his Utah debut, was held to seven points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Johnson was effective to start the game, including a sequence in which he hit a jumper, stole the ball and hit a 3-pointer that gave Utah its first lead. That’s when Rivers came off the bench.
"I honestly didn’t think we would go with him that early with Joe," Doc Rivers said. "He actually was very effective on Joe because Joe had it going and once he got it going, we figured throw Austin in and see what we can do."
The Clippers took the lead for good in the second quarter on Griffin’s fast-break dunk. It was part of a 22-4 run over both halves that pushed their lead to 49-35. Six different Clippers contributed to the spurt, led by Griffin’s seven points .
"Last year we were trying to figure out each other and not get in each other’s way," the younger Rivers said. "Now the group has one goal. Everyone is focused on winning."
Rivers scored six of the Clippers’ first eight points in the fourth, extending their lead to 77-56. The backup was 8 of 11 from the floor.
The Jazz never got a sustained run going in the second half. Two free throws by Exum drew them within eight late in the third, the closest they came in the half.
"I don’t think we played well offensively, our defense kept us in the game for a while, but some of our better players struggled," Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
Jazz: F Gordon Hayward, who averaged 28.3 point, 8.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists against the Clippers last season, sat out his third straight game with a broken finger on his left hand.
Clippers: In the first quarter, Griffin (8,836) surpassed Corey Maggette (8,835) for fourth on the team’s career scoring list. … They won their home opener for the fifth straight year. … The Clippers have won eight in a row at home, including the final seven games of last season.
Jordan had a severe reaction upon spraining his thumb midway through the third quarter. He returned midway through the fourth and got one rebound after getting hurt.
"I was worried because I saw the swelling," the elder Rivers said. "Let’s just hope it’s OK."
Paul was concerned, too, calling Jordan "the most durable guy in our league."
Jordan will have an X-ray.
Utah’s Joel Bolomboy made his NBA debut with one rebound, one assist and one turnover in four minutes. He didn’t take a shot. The rookie forward helped Weber State earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament last season.
"He was a little nervous at first, but once he got in there he played well for the short minutes he was in," teammate Derrick Favors said.
The Clippers controlled the boards, 49-43. They had a 14-7 edge on the offensive glass, led by six rebounds from Jordan and four from Luc Mbah a Moute.
Griffin’s infant daughter attended her first regular season game in the arms of his girlfriend Brynn Cameron.
Finley is the couple’s second child. Their 3-year-old son, Ford, tagged after his mom and new sister carrying a small ball. Ford wore a gray sweatshirt that read Leader of the Pack.
It was a family affair, with Griffin’s parents in town from Oklahoma and brother Taylor on hand.
Jazz: Off Monday before playing at San Antonio on Tuesday.
Clippers: Host the Suns on Monday in the season’s first back-to-back and second of three consecutive home games.
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