Paul Millsap scored 20 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 29-point thrashing of the short-handed L.A. Clippers.
Utah jumped out to an 11-2 lead, led by 11 at halftime, and really poured it on in the second half on their way to a 108-79 victory. Paul Millsap led the way with 20 points in just 30 minutes, but it didn't really matter who was on the court for the Jazz, as six players scored in double figures and the bench played the entire fourth quarter. C.J. Miles had a season-high 19 and rookie Enes Kanter had a career high with 10.
The Clippers, playing without Chris Paul and Mo Williams, on the middle game of their first back-to-back-to-back of the season, on the road in a city where they've won once in more than two decades, looked for all the world like a team that didn't want to be there. There's no chance that they purposely phoned in the game, but it would not have necessarily been a bad strategy. L.A. would be happy with two wins out of three games in three days -- they probably have a better chance to beat Dallas on Wednesday, at home, perhaps with Paul back in the lineup. The fact that the starters exerted very little energy (even when they were in the game) helps their chances against the Mavs as well.
Blake Griffin somehow managed to stretch his double-double streak to six straight (he has eight on the season) with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He played 27 minutes and took the final 14 minutes off. Caron Butler led the team in scoring with 14 points.
Over at Clips Nation, they're not sugar coating things:
From the outset, the Clippers were settling for long jumpers, with very little success. The offense was stagnant, with little to no ball movement. The Clippers shot 36.5% as a team, and continued their abysmal free throw shooting. Luckily, the Clippers' stellar defensive effort would keep them in the game. Oh wait, that didn't happen. The Clippers defense was even worse than the offense. The team was flat footed from the outset.
And what of the Jazz, now 9-4 in what was generally thought to be a rebuilding year? They've won eight of their last nine, and have a front line in Millsap and Al Jefferson putting up All-Star level numbers. Millsap may not get the hype of Blake Griffin, but tonight he outplayed him on every level. Griffin will likely end up as a starting forward in the All-Star game in the fan vote, but Millsap deserves to be there as well.