SALT LAKE CITY – J.J. Redick scored 25 points and Paul Pierce scored 20 off the bench as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 109-104 in their first game without injured star, Blake Griffin.
HOW IT HAPPENED
J.J. Redick was red-hot for the Clippers who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back in Salt Lake City after defeating their hallway neighbors, the Los Angeles Lakers 94-84 on Christmas Day.
The Clippers were flat to start the game and trailed by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. Before the game, the team announced that star power forward Blake Griffin would miss the next 2-4 weeks with a torn left quadriceps muscle.
Josh Smith started in Griffin's place after not seeing the floor in the Clippers last two games. Smith struggled early, shooting 0-for-2 with a turnover in five minutes of action before head coach Doc Rivers took him out of the game. Smith did not start the second half, and did not see the floor again.
The Clippers could have laid down and died after their double-digit deficit in the second quarter. Traveling to the frigid cold in Utah and taking the court less than 24 hours after an emotional Christmas Day game without your star player and trailing early would have been enough for most teams to throw in the towel.
"We had every reason in the world to lose this game," Redick said later. "When things didn't go well in the first quarter, we had every reason to pack it in and go through the motions."
The Clippers instead rallied and cut the Jazz lead to just 5 points by halftime. In the second half, the Clippers took control of the game thanks to the hot hands of Redick and Paul Pierce who lead all scorers off the bench with 20 points.
"Getting the opportunity now because Blake is out, I had it going and the guys really found me," Pierce said.
The Clippers traded punches with the Jazz down the stretch, but three consecutive three-pointers by Redick and Pierce iced the game away.
BINGO! With the Clippers trailing 60-to-64 midway through the third quarter, Pierce and Redick hit four consecutive three-pointers to suddenly give the Clippers a 72-64 lead.
MVP OF THE GAME
Paul Pierce and J.J. Redick. They were on fire from downtown.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
J.J. Redick has made a three pointer in 8 consecutive games, a new Clippers franchise record.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Anything with Charizard wins our "Tweet of the Night!"
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
10-for-14 from downtown? WOW!
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Pierce hit big shots. That's why we brought him here." – J.J. Redick on teammate Paul Pierce's performance.
The Clippers announced before the game that Blake Griffin would miss the next 2-4 weeks with a left quadriceps tear.
Los Angeles has won 7 straight games in Utah.
Los Angeles Clippers (18-13, 8-7 on the road) 2nd in Pacific Division.
Utah Jazz (12-16, 7-7 at home) 2nd in the Northwest Division
The Clippers stay on the road where they head back East to take on the Washington Wizards on Monday night in D.C.
The Jazz will remain in Utah where they will host the hapless Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night at 6:00PM PST.