Tuesday, JANUARY 17, 2012
LA Clippers VS Utah Jazz
LA Clippers VS Utah Jazz
Season Series: tied 0-0
LA Clippers VS Utah Jazz Live Stream
The Los Angeles Clippers won without Chris Paul at the beginning of a back-to-back-to-back stretch, and coach Vinny Del Negro has said he won't rush his superstar point guard back during the busy week.
The Clippers could have trouble ending their misery in Salt Lake City whether he plays or not.
Paul is questionable as Los Angeles tries to avoid a 16th consecutive road loss to the Utah Jazz while going for its fourth straight victory overall Tuesday night.
Monday began a stretch of five games in seven days for Los Angeles (7-3), which plays the only road game during that stretch Tuesday. The week didn't begin with good news when the team announced Paul is day to day after straining his left hamstring in the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over the Lakers.
Paul, who is averaging 18.0 points and 8.4 assists, had an MRI on Sunday. Despite it being negative, he sat out Monday's 101-91 win over New Jersey.
Del Negro said the Clippers won't hurry Paul back, which could hurt his team's chances of ending a lengthy losing streak in Salt Lake City. They have just one victory in the last 42 meetings there, losing 15 in a row since a 96-89 victory in 2003.
Los Angeles survived just fine without Paul on Monday, however. Chauncey Billups shifted to point guard in Paul's absence despite dealing with back tightness and finished with 20 points.
Nine of those came in the final 4:23 after the Clippers blew an 18-point lead.
"We did a good job of pulling it out," said Blake Griffin, who had game highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds. "I mean, we shouldn't have let it get to that point in the first place. We'd much rather have kept that lead and rested a little bit, but we did a good job of grinding and getting it done when we needed to.
"A win's a win, and we'll take it any way we can get it."
Before Paul's injury the Clippers were already shorthanded in the backcourt. Mo Williams missed the last two games with a sore right foot and Eric Bledsoe is still recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee.
Del Negro said the team will have to dig deep against the Jazz, who have won seven of eight.
"We're going to have to find a way to get our energy up," Del Negro said. "Utah is playing well and we're going to have to go in there very focused and ready to go to work."
The Jazz (8-4) are coming off perhaps their best victory so far Sunday in Denver. They won 106-96, getting a combined 44 points and 24 boards from Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Millsap scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter.
"Yeah, he got it going," Denver forward Al Harrington said. "Nothing I could do about it, either. Usually I can cut a guy's wood off. He's a good player and he had a great fourth quarter, so tip my hat off to him. Good job."
Utah, which is averaging 94.7 points, has reached 106 in three of the last four games. Millsap is averaging 23.0 points while shooting 62.1 percent in the last four and has consecutive double-doubles.
The Jazz have won four straight against the Clippers and 10 of 11 overall, sweeping last season's three games despite Griffin averaging 27.0 points and 14.3 rebounds. espn.go.com
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