Lauri Markkanen and Utah cut the still-declined Clippers
The second evening of “back to back” is required, the Clippers rested their duo Kawhi Leonard – Paul George. The Jazz were quick to capitalize on these deficits and easily won (126-103) a game in which they never led.
An initial 9-0 by the home side to start could herald a long evening for the visitors. He more or less was. The Jazz got off to a strong start behind the 3-point line, with Walker Kessler at the center of a beautiful interior battle with Ivica Zubac to ensure he stayed under the rim.
Leading by 10 points (36-26) after one quarter after a game-winning basket from Lauri Markkanen, the Jazz extended their lead in the following minutes. In the last minute of the first half, the intervention of Norman Powell, the author of eight points, was necessary for the Clippers to return to the dressing room with a decent note (68-56).
That ten-point gap was maintained before California Dyke fell behind by more than 20 points (106-84) early in the final quarter. Seeing the opposition substitutes begin to close that gap, Will Hardy opted to play it safe, leaving his starters off the field to seal a big win.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– 3 point cloud. It’s pretty rare to see two teams with better 3-point skill than their overall success. The Clippers were good in that stretch, going 15/34 from behind the arc. But jazz was even stronger. Their Markkanen-Conley pairing (11/14!) has been blazing away, and with the help of Malik Beasley and others, the Salt Lake City club has come very close to a season high in volume. In terms of address, Will Hardy’s men have never been more proficient: 19/32 or 59%.
– The Clippers are on the downside… While the Jazz have balanced the balance, the Clippers are in the red for the first time since November. At the end of December, Tyronn Lue’s men still had six more wins than losses. Since then, they have lost nine times in eleven outings…
✅ Lauri Markkanen. It’s called supporting an All-Star bid. After two games on the road, he regained his infernal momentum, recording his 17th double-double of the domestic season. The Finn is a monster of consistency this year as he has never scored less than… 13 points!
✅ Mike Conley. The point pass for the 5th double-double failed. That didn’t stop him from confirming his career-best season in passing, with an excellent 9-ball ratio in addition to a superb evening at address level.
✅ Norman Powell. Not starting since the first games of the season, he was clean and efficient – 30 points in 30 minutes – and one of the few Californians who survived.
⛔ Robert Covington. Flop candidates abounded on the Clippers side, but the winger confirmed his very poor form this season (career-worst average since his rookie year). Unable to find the target from a distance, he ended the match with the worst “+/-” (-20).
LAURI MARKKANEN’S POSTER ON IVICA ZUBAC
Jazz (24-24) : Reception of networks on Friday.
Clippers (23-24) : Trip to Spurs on Friday.