A very long chapter in Clippers history ended Wednesday night
when Los Angeles defeated Utah 96-89.
"That was a big win for us. It was good to get a victory --
finally,'' said Brand, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds.
The Clippers had lost their previous 26 games in Utah since
defeating the Jazz at the old Salt Palace on April 18, 1989. The
Clippers had never won at the Delta Center and had lost 15 in a row
overall to the Jazz.
After hitting more than half their shots in the first half and
going up by as many as 17, the Clippers were able to thwart several
comeback attempts and end their run of misfortune.
"We're playing real well. Everybody's contributing,'' said
Miller, who finished with 16 in his old college town. "If we can
do that and play every day, it'd be a different game.''
Corey Maggette added 13 points, including two free throws with
16.2 seconds left that sealed the win. Los Angeles outrebounded
Utah 50-39 to snap the Jazz's four-game winning streak.
"Everybody knows the trouble we've had winning in this
building, so it's a great win for us against a real, real quality
team,'' Clippers coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Jazz, who were leading the league in shooting (47 percent)
entering the game, struggled from outside, inside and the
Utah shot just 35-for-87 (40 percent) overall, 2-for-10 from
3-point range and 17-for-24 from the line.
"Some nights you're a little off. You've just got to move on,''
said Matt Harpring, who had 22 points and eight rebounds. "It's
nothing you can dwell on. There's a lot of games in this league.''
Utah, which rallied from 16 down to beat Seattle last week,
couldn't do it this time after falling behind by 17. The Jazz made
several late pushes but never got closer than four points.
"I don't think we made the plays we needed to make. Simple as
that,'' Stockton said.
Stockton cut the lead to 92-87 on two free throws with 42.9
seconds left, then after Miller went 1-for-2 from the line,
Stockton drove the length floor for a layup that got the Jazz to
The Jazz and coach Jerry Sloan were incensed after not getting a
call on what they felt was a travel by Maggette after Stockton's
layup, but got a break when Brand missed two free throws with 27.6
seconds left. The rebound bounced to Miller, who went 1-for-2 from
the line. After the Jazz failed to score, Maggette clinched it with
the two final free throws.
The Jazz hadn't played since winning an overtime thriller Monday
night against New Jersey and came out flat, shooting 39 percent in
the first half as the Clippers went 20-for-38 and led 52-37 at
The Clippers have won two of their last three, beating the Jazz
and Sacramento while falling to the Lakers in the final minute to
improve to 16-25 on the season.
"We start turning this thing around before the All-Star break,
we'll be excited to come back,'' Brand said.
Miller, who helped lead the University of Utah to the 1998
NCAA tournament, got a loud ovation when he was introduced with the
Clippers starters. ... Miller's former college coach, Rick Majerus,
watched the game from the top of the lower deck. ... Odom hit a
jumper just before the buzzer at the end of the second quarter. ...
Brand had 13 points at halftime despite playing just 5 minutes in
the first quarter. ... The crowd got a laugh in the third quarter
when the 7-foot-1 Zhizhi nudged 6-foot-3 Utah guard Mark Jackson several times, trying to get him to take a jump ball. Jackson
swatted Zhizhi's hand away while shaking his head.