UTAH’s unheralded bench proved their steadier down the stretch as the Jazz escaped with a slim win over the LA Clippers, 96-94, at the Staples Center on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
The Jazz, led by Rodney Hood and George Hill, carried a seven point lead at the half, but saw the Clippers mount a fiery comeback in the third quarter and trailed by five entering the fourth, where both teams fielded in the bench players in this preseason battle.
LA’s reserves, with veterans Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton leading the way, held a slim lead down to the dying seconds of the game until Utah countered a Crawford triple with a dunk by rookie Joel Bolomboy and free throws from Chris Johnson and Joe Ingles to take a three point lead, 95-92, with 15 seconds left.
Crawford got fouled on the next play while shooting a three, but made just two of his free throws. Then, Johnson split his charities but Ingles got the offensive board as the Jazz held on for the win.
Hood led Utah with 17 points, Shelvin Mack added 12 off the bench, while Hill chipped in 10.
Crawford top-scored for the Clippers with 16 points, while Chris Paul and Mo Speights each had 14. Blake Griffin also added 13 markers for LA, who fell to 1-2 in the preseason.
Meanwhile, Hornets subs Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb also stepped up to nab Charlotte’s first preseason win in four outings with a 98-86 victory over Minnesota.
Kaminsky and Lamb had 17 and 16 points, respectively, off the bench while Kemba Walker added 15 for the Hornets.
Zach Lavine dropped 30 to lead the Timberwolves but found little support from his misfiring teammates. Andrew Wiggins went 3-of-13 from the field while Karl-Anthony Towns was 2-of-6 as the two combined for 13 markers.