In what could very well be a first-round Playoff series, the Clippers wiped the floor in Utah 88-72 — without Chris Paul. DeAndre Jordan dominated both sides of the floor to finish with a plus/minus of +27, as the Clippers held the Jazz to 32.2% shooting, 17.4% from the three-point line.
Here are three things we learned from Monday night’s victory:
Rivers Continues to Improve
With Chris Paul out in this recent stretch, guard Austin Rivers has stepped up his production – in quantity and efficiency. He had eight of his 15 points in the second quarter — which opened with L.A. down — and finished on six-of-12 shooting overall. Even more impressive, he was 3-4 from beyond the arc.
“We know coming in it’s going to be a fight,” Rivers said after the game. “We can’t come in and play soft and not play hard against these guys or you’re going to get embarrassed. So it’s one of those games you’re going to have to get up for.”
J.J. Redick is usually known for his hot starts in the first quarter. He’ll get the offense going early, then usually taper off. It’s just how it’s been for years. Monday night in Utah was different, though, with Redick missing his first five shots. He finished three-of-10 from the field, and just two-of-seven from beyond the arc.
Redick’s struggles of late are without a doubt correlated to Chris Paul not being there to get him the ball in his sweet spots.
What stood out the most was the Clippers’ three-point defense at Utah. The Clippers currently rank No. 5 in the league in three-point defense, holding opponents to below 35 percent from three-point range. Over the last three games, though, the Clippers have held opponents to under 29 percent.
The Jazz hit on just four of their 23 attempts from behind the arc. It was the Utah’s lowest point total since January 2015 and its lowest field-goal percentage (32.2) since December 2011.