The Los Angeles Clippers hope to record a season-high fourth consecutive win tonight by turning around their fortunes in Utah.
Playing the Jazz in Salt Lake City has traditionally been a non-starter for the Clips. LA has dropped an astounding 43 of its last 44 trips to Utah but this is a far different Clippers team now that All-Star Chris Paul has been brought in to team with reigning Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin.
Paul scored 26 points and dished out 14 assists on Monday while Griffin added 22 points and seven rebounds, as the Clips jumped out early and rolled past the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, 112-100, at Staples Center.
Caron Butler also added a season-best 22 points, while Chauncey Billups donated 13 and Mo Williams posted 12. Los Angeles made 13 treys one game after making 14, both part of a three-game winning streak.
"They're a good team, the best we've played all year," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said of the Clippers. "They had their way in all parts of the game."
Griffin also went viral with an incredible monster jam over OKC's Kendrick Perkins.
"We can't say that we've arrived after this game," Paul told the team's website. "We're going to look at the film and there's still a lot of things we've got to clean up, but like I keep saying it's a great win for us especially with a young team like this."
One area the Clips must improve in is winning on the road. LA is an impressive 10-2 at Staples Center but just 2-4 as the visitor, although one of those wins came in their last encounter away from home against playoff-bound Denver.
Recording a win in Utah, where the Jazz are 10-3 this season would really send a message.
Utah's latest win at EnergySolutons Arena came on Monday when Gordon Hayward came up big on the defensive end late in regulation and hit the clinching free throws in the waning seconds, as the Jazz came back and defeated the Trail Blazers, 93-89.
Paul Millsap finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz, who rallies from an 11-point second-half deficit despite being without injured starters Al Jefferson (ankle) and Raja Bell (right adductor).
"I'm really proud of this entire group," Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin said. "There's no quit in this group of guys."
Bell is expected to remain out tonight while Jefferson has been listed as doubtful.
The Clippers last win in Salt Lake City was on Jan. 22, 2003, a 96-89 triumph.