National Basketball Association
Clippers-Jazz Preview
National Basketball Association

Clippers-Jazz Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:04 a.m. ET

With the Western Conference's No. 4 seed secure, the Los Angeles Clippers have two goals before the playoffs: getting Blake Griffin in top form and resting the starters.

The Utah Jazz don't have the luxury of resting anyone as they continue their quest to gain a postseason berth Friday night against the Clippers.

Los Angeles (50-28) is locked into home-court advantage in the first round against the undetermined No. 5 seed, while Utah (39-39) holds the eighth spot and is one game behind Dallas and just ahead of Houston with four remaining.

The Clippers again showed they're top dog in the City of Angels on Wednesday, handing the rival Lakers a franchise-worst 62nd loss with a 91-81 victory that marked their third four-game sweep in four seasons and fourth consecutive 50-win campaign.


DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick scored 15 points apiece, and Chris Paul and Griffin each added 13 before the starters sat out the fourth quarter. Doc Rivers is giving the quartet and Wesley Johnson the night off for this contest as he continues a balancing act of preventing his starters from logging heavy minutes and helping Griffin shake off the rust accrued from missing over three months with injuries.

Griffin, who had 40 points and 12 rebounds in a 102-91 loss to Utah on Nov. 25, had his best game since returning from a tear in his quad and a broken hand, shooting 5 for 10 with eight rebounds and three assists in roughly 25 minutes.

"I felt good, my legs felt good," he told the team's official website. "That's what's allowed me to play more. Those are all good things - just keep going.

"I've been encouraged after every game with how I felt."

The first of the 45 games Griffin missed was a 109-104 win in Salt Lake City on Dec. 26 in which Redick scored 25, Paul had 19 points and 11 assists, and Jordan added 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Clippers went 13 of 26 from 3-point range.

The game marked another strong performance against the Clippers for Gordon Hayward, who scored 28 points after putting up 33 in the November win. He's shot 51.4 percent against Los Angeles this season, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.

Hayward had a quiet 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting in a defensive battle against San Antonio on Tuesday that ended in an 88-86 home loss. The Spurs and Jazz are the top two teams in the NBA in points allowed per game.

"We feel like we can play with any team, especially on this home court," said Rodney Hood, who had 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

"We've just got to continue to grind."

Utah has been playing well on its home court, winning five of seven with the other loss coming against Golden State in overtime, but the Jazz have dropped seven in a row against the Clippers in Salt Lake City.


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