SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- On the verge of a five-game road trip, the
Utah Jazz knew how much they needed to win at home Tuesday.
And after losing seven of eight, winning anywhere felt good.
"I wouldn't say we've turned it around yet, but we're playing
better and we're competing a lot better," said Raja Bell, who
scored 12 in the Jazz's 93-91 victory over the Los Angeles
Utah also got a nice test before leaving on a trip that starts
Wednesday at Phoenix. The Clippers were coming off a
double-overtime loss to Boston on Monday and didn't arrive in Salt
Lake City until 3:30 a.m., but showed no signs of fatigue.
The Clippers never trailed by more than seven and had plenty of
opportunities to win at the end. Instead, they lost for the 22nd
time in their last 23 tries in Utah.
"We missed some crucial plays down in the end," said Corey
Maggette, who scored 28 to lead Los Angeles. "They played
extremely hard. They just beat us on the boards. Offensive rebounds
really cost us the game."
The Jazz only outrebounded the Clippers 37-34, but 20 of Utah's
rebounds were on offense. Mehmet Okur led the Jazz with 19 points
and 13 rebounds and helped seal it with three free throws in the
last 9 seconds.
"It was huge for us. That was our last home game before the
East Coast trip," Okur said.
The Jazz also got a win in Jerry Sloan's 1,500th game as an NBA
coach, making him the 10th coach to reach the milestone. Sloan
showed his intensity hasn't decreased over time, benching point
guard Carlos Arroyo after an argument in the third quarter.
Utah persevered without the starter and avoided falling four
games below .500.
"We've got to start taking care of our home," Harpring said.
"For a confidence thing, going into a road trip on a win as
opposed to a loss is big."
Maggette made a putback in the final seconds that pulled the
Clippers to 90-89, but they could never overcome the Jazz after
losing the lead early in the fourth quarter.
"I know we can beat Utah. We just came short once again,"
Down 88-86, Maggette missed a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds
left and the Clippers got two offensive rebounds before Chris Kaman
was fouled by Howard Eisley with 22.7 seconds remaining. Kaman's
first shot bounced off the rim but the second shot rolled in to get
Los Angeles within a point at 88-87.
Bell was quickly fouled on the inbounds play and made both free
throws to make it a 3-point game.
The Clippers lost a lot of time with some questionable shots.
Mikki Moore hit nothing on a 3-point attempt and Bobby Simmons
missed after pulling down the rebound before Maggette put it back
in to cut it to 90-89.
Los Angeles fouled Okur right away and he made both free throws
with 9 seconds left and went 1-for-2 with 3 seconds remaining.
The Clippers have won just once in the Delta Center since
it opened in 1991. ... Jazz guard Raul Lopez was called for a
technical with 5:34 remaining in the second quarter for pushing
Rick Brunson after the whistle. ... Moore played most of last
season for the Jazz and had five points in his return.