Posted March 31, 2012 on
AP on Fox
A week ago, the Los Angeles Clippers were struggling and their coach's job was seemingly in jeopardy.
Now, the Clippers will try to win five straight for the first time in over five years Saturday night when they host the Utah Jazz.
After losing three in a row and failing to reach 100 points in nine straight games, Los Angeles appears to be back on track with four consecutive wins.
The Clippers (30-21) won three in a row by a double-digit margins before slipping past Portland 98-97 on Friday. Chris Paul's driving layup with five seconds left helped Los Angeles match its longest winning streak of the season.
A week ago, there were concerns about the Clippers' attitude and questions about coach Vinny Del Negro's future, but they seem to be focused now. They hold a one-game lead on Dallas for the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference and trail the Lakers by one game for the Pacific Division lead.
Paul finished with 20 points, 14 assists and four steals Friday, earning his fourth consecutive double-double.
"He's been the difference-maker this year,'' Blake Griffin said.
Griffin has played just as big a role. He's averaging 21.8 points and 11.0 rebounds during the four-game streak.
Behind their two stars, the Clippers are averaging 99.8 points and shooting 50.5 percent the last three games after scoring 90.3 on 42.1 percent from the field the previous nine.
Saturday concludes a five-game homestand for Los Angeles, which hasn't won five in a row overall since Nov. 2-12, 2006. It has also won six straight at home - one shy of its season high - to improve to 19-8 there this season.
While the Clippers try to keep things going, the Jazz (27-25) find themselves struggling to close out games.
They have lost three of four, including a four-overtime defeat at Atlanta last Sunday to snap a six-game winning streak.
Utah shot 35.2 percent - its second-worst mark of the season - in a 104-103 loss at home to Sacramento on Friday, as Gordon Hayward's driving layup failed to fall in the closing seconds.
"You've got to learn how to play and close out ballgames," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We've taken some steps forward; we just didn't demonstrate it tonight.''
Al Jefferson scored 27 points and Hayward added 19, but Derrick Favors had a dismal night, going 0 for 13 from the field.
The Jazz fell one game behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.
Utah has particularly struggled to control the paint the last four games. DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 14 rebounds Friday two nights after Boston's Kevin Garnett finished with 23 and 10.
Utah and Los Angeles have split two meetings this season, with the Clippers winning 107-105 on Feb. 1. Paul scored 34 points and Griffin added 31 and 14 rebounds.
Griffin was held to 10 points in the first matchup, which Paul missed with a hamstring strain.
Utah has won its last two visits to Staples Center against the Clippers.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The LA Clippers victory last night over Portland was followed by an epic fail by singer Mark McGrath. He was in the front row and went in for a quick fist bump from Chris Paul after the game and was denied in epic fashion. Not sure if Paul just didn't see the attempt or chose to ignore it, but I got a good laugh out of it either way. Seriously McGrath, that was the weakest...
LOS ANGELES -- There is another closer in Los Angeles. He, too, resides at Staples Center.
He's not the guy that wears No. 24 in the Purple & Gold, instead this guy goes by the nickname of CP3.
Friday night when the Clippers hosted the Blazers, Chris Paul was up to his old tricks.
Trailing 97-96 with 13 seconds left in the game, Paul was picked up on a switch by the...
LOS ANGELES The picture of Chris Paul sitting on the bench next to two backcourt mates in street clothes, Mo Williams and Chauncey Billups, and grimacing as two trainers huddled around, working on his right elbow was not necessarily worth a thousand words.
Not when two would suffice: Uh, oh.
"I said to myself, 'This can't be happening right now,'" said Clippers...
When the buzzer sounded, Chris Paul made like a one-man Mardi Gras krewe. As he began along the route from the floor to the locker room, Paul pulled his red jersey over his head, rolled it into a ball and reached up to hand it to a boy hanging over a railing.
Then he shed his wristbands. Next off were his shoes, which he gave to kids who were in an after-school program he sponsors...
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chris Paul made a driving layup with 5 seconds to go, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Portland Trail Blazers 98-97 on Friday night as they tied their season high with their fourth straight victory.
Paul, Blake Griffin and Randy Foye led six Clippers in double figures with 20 points each. Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan had 12 each, and Nick Young added...
Chris Paul made a driving layup with 5 seconds to go, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Portland Trail Blazers 98-97 on Friday night as they tied their season high with their fourth straight victory.
Paul, Blake Griffin and Randy Foye led six Clippers in double figures with 20 points each. Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan had 12 each, and Nick Young added 10. Griffin had...
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chris Paul scored 26 points, Blake Griffin added 24 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 105-96 on Saturday night to win their fifth in a row for the first time since 2006.
Randy Foye added 17 points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 rebounds for the surging Clippers, who have won six straight at home and are a game behind the first-place Lakers in the Pacific...
Chris Paul scored 26 points, Blake Griffin added 24 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 105-96 on Saturday night to win their fifth in a row for the first time since 2006.
Randy Foye added 17 points and DeAndre Jordan had 10 rebounds for the surging Clippers, who have won six straight at home and are a game behind the first-place Lakers in the Pacific Division. They...
After Chris Paul sank a last-second shot to beat the Blazers, the Clippers star was shown high-fiving fans. Check out the middle-aged man in the vest who gets snubbed by Paul.
That’s no ordinary middle-aged, vest wearing man. That’s Mark McGrath. You know, from Sugar Ray. “Iiii just wanna fly.” You know that song.
Chris Paul hit the winning shot for the Clippers in their 98-97 victory over the Trail Blazers Friday, and by virtue of being the game’s hero, he got to choose who he engaged in his postgame celebration. CP3 spread the love by high-fiving some fans, but he left Sugar Ray singer and noted Lakers fan Mark McGrath hanging on a fist pound. Maybe Paul didn’t notice McGrath’s fist...
Los Angeles Clippers 98, Portland 97
LOS ANGELES, March 31—I don’t see how the Clippers needed a Chris Paul last second miracle to beat the Trail Blazers but hey…it happens.
To check out the rest of the scores and watch video from last night's games, please click the link below.