Jazz 111, Clippers 94
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ John Stockton would just as soon avoid the excitement of setting NBA comeback records. Just give him an old-fashioned win anytime.
Utah, just 48 hours removed from a 36-point comeback win against the Denver Nuggets _ believed to be the largest comeback in NBA history _ the Jazz had a more routine win, 111-94 over the Los Angeles Clippers.
And never mind that the Jazz is off to a franchise-record 11-2, with nine straight victories. If coach Jerry Sloan has taught the Utah team anything, it’s that you’re only as good as the next win.
``I don’t think we’re really thinking about the winning streak,″ said Stockton, who rebounded from 2-of-12 shooting Wednesday against Denver to hit 12-of-13 Friday and score a game-high 28 points.
Jeff Horacek added 19 points for the Jazz to reach the 12,000-point mark for his career.
``We’ve got a tough game coming up Sunday in Seattle and we’re focusing on that,″ Stockton said.
Indeed, what the Jazz don’t want to do is spend much time thinking about Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets. The crowd may have loved it, but it’s no way to play basketball.
``I’d just as soon not be in a position of having to come back from 36 points,″ said Stockton, who also had 10 assists Friday. ``That’s fine for the crowd and the record, but I don’t want to go through that again.″
Karl Malone added 19 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Greg Ostertag scored 10 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Darrick Martin, in his first start of the year, led the Clippers with 18 points. Malik Sealy added 13 and Pooh Richardson 12 as the Clippers lost their fifth straight game.
The Jazz outscored the Clippers 15-2 in the first 4:09 of the third quarter, with Stockton scoring seven, to lead 67-51.
``The third quarter we came out with great anticipation, but not that much participation,″ said Clippers’ coach Bill Fitch, whose team was 6-of-15 in the third quarter and was outrebounded 15-8.
Joked Fitch: ``Stockton walked right into a couple of 3s. He is a very good player. I think he and Malone will probably make it in this league if they stay around long enough.″
A baseline jumper by Chris Morris 54 seconds into the fourth period gave Utah a 20-point lead, and the Clippers did not come closer than 14 the rest of the way.
The Clippers took a brief lead early in the second quarter with a 6-0 run, and Lamond Murray hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Clippers a 49-46 advantage with 1:18 left.
But Greg Ostertag scored four points and Bryon Russell two to end the quarter with the Jazz ahead 52-49, and the Clippers would never regain the lead.
``The first half, those guys came out and they played hard and competed and we didn’t″ said Malone, who scored fewer than 20 points for the first time in six games and grabbed single-digit rebounds for the first time in five. ``We got rolling in the second half and it started with our defense.″