SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and the Utah Jazz broke a nine-game home losing streak to the Los Angeles Clippers with a 114-108 victory Monday night.
The victory gave the Jazz a two-game lead over the Clippers in the race for the No. 4 playoff seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round.
Utah scored 40 points in the third quarter, a season-high for any quarter, after trailing much of the first half. George Hill was much more aggressive on the offensive end after a sluggish first half and the Jazz missed just four of 17 shots in the period while hitting all six 3-point attempts. The ball movement was outstanding on offense and nearly everyone got in the mix.
Chris Paul had 33 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Clippers.
The Clippers never figured out how to slow Hayward, whose back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Jazz a 103-92 lead. Hill finished with 19 points and Joe Ingles scored 18 off the bench.
Los Angeles cut the lead to 107-103 late, but back-to-back buckets by Joe Johnson put away the game.
The Clippers led 56-49 at halftime thanks to a dominant 18-point half from Paul and a stretch of eight straight points from Austin Rivers to push the lead to a first-half high of eight points.
J.J. Redick added 16 points for the Clippers.
Clippers: The Clippers shot 58.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc in the first half, but led by just seven at the break. … The Clippers held the Jazz to an average of 73.5 points in their first two meetings before Monday.
Jazz: Derrick Favors was held out with a bone contusion in his left knee and will be re-evaluated later in the week. It’s his third straight missed game and his 18th of the season due to an issue with the left knee.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he’s not concerned with the race between the Jazz, Clippers, Thunder and Grizzlies for the No. 4 playoff seed.
“Yeah, we would like whoever is the 30th seed … we’d prefer that,” Rivers said. “Other than that, you’ve just got to get ready in the playoffs.
“I’ve always laughed at three (seed), four, let’s get five. That’s ridiculous. If you’re trying to win it all, you’re going to play the good teams eventually. You just have to be ready for it.”
Clippers: Los Angeles hosts All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
Jazz: Rudy Gobert and Utah travel to face Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in a matchup of two of the league’s best centers.