Clippers-Jazz Preview - NBC Sports

Clippers-Jazz Preview
January 27, 2015, 2:23 pm

Having spent more time on their own court than any team up to this point, the Los Angeles Clippers know they'll be spending a majority of the season's final 11 weeks on the road.

They couldn't ask for a more favorable spot to kick off their longest stretch away from Staples Center.

Winners of five straight, the Clippers begin their eight-game gauntlet Wednesday night looking for a sixth consecutive victory in Salt Lake City and 13th win in a row over the Utah Jazz.

Los Angeles (31-14) has played 27 home games, and while it's in solid shape to get a top-four seed, it'll be on the road for 23 of its final 37 beginning with a stop at EnergySolutions Arena.

The Clippers are 11-7 away from home and won their only three so far in January - the latest a 120-100 rout of Phoenix on Sunday. When they've won away from home, it generally hasn't been close. Los Angeles' plus-13.7 margin in its road victories is the best in the NBA.

That includes a 112-96 win over Utah on Nov. 29 that's far from the Clippers' only success against the Jazz (16-29) of late. Their 12 straight victories in this series have them tied for the second-longest active winning streak by one opponent over another.

Jamal Crawford has never lost to the Jazz in a Clippers uniform, averaging 19.3 points in the three wins this season to complement Blake Griffin's 27.7 on 62.7 percent shooting.

Crawford managed to top his average in one quarter in Los Angeles' latest victory. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year had 21 of his 23 points in the fourth to help the Clippers rally from 10 down in the final nine minutes to beat Denver 102-98 on Monday.

Only Atlanta and Golden State have been better over the last month than Los Angeles, winner of 11 of 14.

"We showed a lot of mental toughness," Crawford told the team's official website. "Over these last 10 to 12 games, we've showed different ways to win. Doc (Rivers) always has us believing. We all believe in each other."

The Jazz hope to fare better against Rivers' current team than they did his former club. Looking to win three straight for the first time since February, Utah let Boston erupt for a 38-14 second quarter Monday night and couldn't recover in a 99-90 home loss.

"We didn't play hard," coach Quin Snyder said. "Maybe it's a little more complicated than that, we played soft as much as anything."

Gordon Hayward had 26 points after scoring 24 in each of his previous two, and he's averaged 26.3 in the three meetings with the Clippers this season.

None of his 22 in Los Angeles' 101-97 home win Dec. 29 came in the fourth, as Matt Barnes did the primary job of locking up Hayward. But Utah's small forward might get a bit of a break in this meeting as Barnes re-aggravated a strained abdominal muscle against Denver and left in the fourth after scoring 18 points.

While Chris Paul has dominated the point guard matchup in this series - he's helped hold Trey Burke to 6.7 points and 28.6 percent shooting this season - the Jazz might be able to fare better inside.

They had a 52-41 edge on the boards and held the Clippers to a season-low 18 paint points in the last meeting thanks in large part to increased minutes for Rudy Gobert, but guarding the perimeter remains an issue. Los Angeles has shot 41.9 percent from 3-point range in the season series, hitting at least 10 in each win.

The Clippers are 20-5 when knocking down that many 3s.

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