The Los Angeles Clippers got a triple double from Chris Paul and a very good scoring night from Blake Griffin as they bounced back rather well from their first loss of the season, beating the Utah Jazz 107-101.
Despite leading comfortably at half time, a very good third quarter from the Jazz and some lazy transition defense by the Clippers, almost making Doc Rivers’ head explode, made the game a close one until some excellent work from Jamal Crawford, reaching the 15,000 career points milestone with a 19-point performance on 7-of-19 from the field, created enough separation for the Clippers to move up to 4-1 this season.
Chris Paul wasn’t shooting all that well, finishing with 13 points. But he made it his 12th career triple double with 10 rebounds and 12 assists, ranked fourth among all players over the last 10 seasons, following Rajon Rondo with 19, LeBron James with 33 and Jason Kidd with 40. Three of Paul’s 12 assists were alley oop passes to DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, finding it quite easy to soar in the sky against Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert.
Griffin had an excellent game, scoring 31 points on 14-of-21 from the field. He also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists. We’ve written about it close to a hundred times, but it’s incredible to see him becoming a more and more complete player with every game that goes by, completely deserving the label of best power forward in the NBA from those who refer to him as such.
Jordan had himself another posterizing moment, leaving Rudy Gobert on the floor as the Frenchman tried to intercept a lob pass to Jordan, but few players in the league have the timing and length of Jordan, who scored 8 points, looking towards making this season worthy of another big contract once it’s all over. After leading the NBA in rebounds and field goal percentage last season, he needs to start showing more dominance near the rim on both ends of the floor, and maybe a bit more to his game than just scoring from two feet.
The Jazz got a very good game from Gordon Hayward, scoring 29 points, and Enes Kanter scoring 17. But Gobert has been a disappointment with just four points in 15 minutes. Trey Burke seems to have taken a step back this season, scoring just six points on 1-of-5 from the field, and Dante Exum actually did pretty well with 7 points in 17 minutes, but that’s his best so far this season, showing that everything he did while playing in Australia was possibly misjudged.